Appeals Court overturns Comptroller General’s ruling on gaming machines outside casinos

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The second chamber of the Santiago Appeals Court has revoked an order by Chile’s Comptroller General requiring the country’s municipalities to request a report by the regulator, the Superintendencia de Casinos y Juegos (SCJ), prior to authorising a gaming machine licence.

The Court found that Ruling 92.308 by the Comptroller General was illegal, adding that the SCJ “does not have the legal authority to rule” regarding gaming machines.

Trade body Fiden launched a legal challenge against the Comptroller General, Jorge Bermúdez’s 2016 order to limit gaming machine licences and the requirement for a report from the SCJ to certify that the machines were games of skill, rather than chance.

“The Comptroller …does not have the legislative capability or authority to establish rules for a specific sector, although it is accepted that a legal or regulatory vacuum may exist,” emphasised ministers Juan Cristóbal Mera, Jessica Book, and member attorney, Jorge Norambuena, in a unanimous ruling.

Rodrigo Guíñez Saavedra, head of the Chilean Casino Association (ACCJ), indicated that it remains to be seen if the first instance ruling will be upheld by the Supreme Court in the event the Comptroller files an appeal.

He added that the ruling only referred to the powers of the Comptroller and not to the status of gaming machines outside casinos, which remain illegal.

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