The global COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly altering how the world views online gambling. In some places, such as the UK and the EU, governments are trying to limit online operators based in an effort to help protect problem gamblers. In other places, such as Chile, government regulators are attempting to tear down barriers to regulated online gambling in an effort to protect land-based casinos.
Earlier this week, the Chilean news site La Nacion reported that government officials are preparing a measure that would allow for expedited online gambling permits for land-based casino operators. The idea here is that by removing hurdles to regulated online operations, land-based casinos would have more resources to help protect their businesses, which may be closed until at least September or October.
While the Chilean government is willing to make life easier for land-based casino operators, they’re also operating on a principle that casino owners are very familiar with…there’s no such thing as a free lunch. In exchange for making the transition to online gambling a whole lot easier, the government is asking for a bigger piece of the pie. In this case, the pie is a chunk of their gross income. Before the pandemic the idea was that online operations would be taxed at 20 percent of their gross. Under the new plan, they are being asked to contribute 25 percent of their gross income.
Despite the price, it’s very likely that Chilean casino operators will embrace this move. They’ve not only been shut down since March of this year, but were shut down for an extended period last year due to civil unrest.