International edition
September 25, 2020

After public statements made by the head of the local gaming authority

Casino association breaks off talks with Chilean government

Casino association breaks off talks with Chilean government
"As a consequence of the statements made by Vivien Villagrán the ACCJ has decided to suspend talks with the government for as long as the Finance Sub Secretary’s office does not guarantee a safe environment to reach an agreement," ACCJ officials said
Chile | 09/09/2020

The Chilean Casino Association (ACCJ, in Spanish) has decided to end negotiations with the Chilean government after the head of the local gaming authority stated that the casino tender process should be carried out under a financial valuation model instead of granting priority to previous license holders. “Her statements are hindering negotiation success," ACCJ officials stated.

T

he trade association released a public statement announcing that in the last few weeks, "ACCJ was invited to a meeting by the Finance Sub Secretary’s office, after the public claim we made against the Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego (SCJ) —Chile's gaming authority—, who initiated a bidding process that is in clear violation of the law and does not comply with the regulations that currently govern the grant of casino licenses."

Over a month ago, the SCJ announced it was is seeking requests for the renewal and grant of a limited number of twelve casino permits in different areas, beginning July 2023.

According to the casino association, the SCJ is wrongfully applying a set of provisions of a 2015 law, which "clearly establishes that the gambling licenses issued prior to the amendments to this law shall abide by the terms and conditions in force at the time such licenses were granted, provided that such conditions are more beneficial to operators."

When announcing it would commence legal proceedings against the Chilean State, the ACCJ also said: "We are extremely surprised that the Finance Sub Secretary's office, on which the SCJ is dependent, has not demanded the regulatory body reconsider its decision, and on the contrary, endorses a process that clearly violates the law."

"Our association, which gathers together most of the casinos that operate in Chile, gladly accepted the invitation of the Finance Sub Secretary's office, as we understood they intended to protect an industry that has invested more than USD 2,000 million in the country and has generated thousands of jobs."

"However, we were shocked to hear the public statements made by the head of SCJ, Vivien Villagrán, who is insisting on setting in motion a bidding process that is clearly unlawful. As a consequence of this misinterpretation, we had no choice but to resort to local courts and evaluate our options as regards international courts to be able to enforce our rights," the ACCJ explained.

"Undoubtfully, Vivien Villagrán’s worlds hinder a successful negotiation and prevent us from resuming talks with government officials, who we thought came from a sincere place. Her statements also violate the confidentiality conditions we had previously agreed on," ACCJ went on explaining. "As a consequence of the statements made by Vivien Villagrán and as stated above, the members of the  ACCJ have decided to suspend talks with the government for as long as the Finance Sub Secretary’s office does not guarantee a safe environment to reach an agreement that takes into account the needs of the industry, and the sector’s workers, their families and the communities that rely on this industry."

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