By Carlos A. Fonseca Sarmiento (Varela & Fonseca Abogados)
The Casino Gaming Superintendence of Chile recently issued the operating report for 2011, detailing the growth of the industry since Law Nº 19995 passed in 2005. Since the law’s passage, 18 gaming licenses (the maximum quantity allowed by the law) were granted.
In 2011, 15 of the 18 authorized casinos were operating. These casinos are located in the following cities: Antofagasta, Calama, Copiapo, Rinconada, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Mostazal, Talca, Pinto, Talcahuano, Los Angeles, Temuco, Valdivia, Osorno, and Punta Arenas. In April and May of 2012, casinos in the cities of Coyhaique and Castro began their operations. However, the other casino, which is authorized to operate in the city of Ovalle, is not being opened by the company that obtained the license. This means that there is a vacancy for a gaming license. The Casino Gaming Superintendence of Chile must initiate a new process to choose an operator for the gaming license in the first two months of 2013.
The recently released report also indicates that the 15 casinos that are operating have a total of 8,705 slot machines. The main manufacturers are Bally (18.9%), WMS (18.6%), Spielo (18.4%), IGT (16.9%), and Aristocrat (10.6%). The biggest casino is the Monticello Grand Casino in the city of Mostazal with 1,607 slot machines and 83 gaming tables.
The gross income obtained by the casino industry in Chile for 2011 was $515 million US, representing a significant increase over the $317 million 2010 and the $220 million in 2009. It is anticipated that income from the operation of casinos will continue to increase in the coming years.