Chile casinos revenue climb 9.1% to CLP513.7m in 2023

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The sharp rise in gross gaming revenue (GGR) across the country’s 25 venues was helped by 7.1 million people visiting casinos in Chile in 2023, a 12% increase compared to the previous year.

The average expense per visit was CLP$76,042, although this was a 12% decrease in the average expense per visit seen in 2022.

The overall rise in GGR was despite faltering performances in 2023, with casino win consistently declining later in the year. In December casino revenues were 4.7% lower than the same month of 2022.

The casinos’ overall tax contribution of CLP$195.72bn was an 8.7% hike on last year’s figure of CLP$180m.

Chile: igaming potentially on the cards

In December, Chile’s chamber of deputies passed a bill that would regulate online gaming. The bill was officially approved to be sent to the country’s senate for a second legislative process.

The bill aims to carve out a competitive online gaming market in the country. It also sets the objective of protecting the health and safety of players. If passed into law, the bill would give new powers to several Chilean regulatory bodies.

The general hope is the bill will pass through the senate chamber between March and June 2024 and then go back to the chamber of deputies. If all goes well, Chile could have a provisional system by November this year.

There are expected to be issues to overcome, though, much like what has been seen in fellow South American nation Brazil, which is finally expected to have a regulated gambling market in 2024 after a long and winding journey.

Tax is predicted to be a hurdle, while there is a real need to make the industry attractive in order to drive players into the regulated sphere and away from the illegal market.

One concern that has potentially been overstated is the cannibalisation of casinos when regulated igaming is brought in.

Some quarters have previously believed that the legalisation of igaming can have a negative impact the performance of land-based casinos.

However, a fresh report commissioned by the iDevelopment and Economic Association (iDEA) has found that the introduction of online casinos instead has a positive impact on revenue at land-based casinos.

Gaming consultancy Eilers and Krejcik Gaming (EKG) authored the report. It analysed data from casinos, regulators and state governments over a period of 16 years.

The report compared the compound quarterly growth rates (CQGR) of land-based casino GGR before and after online casino was introduced. It noted each of the six states studied experienced a positive change in quarterly growth after igaming came into play.

EKG carried out a survey on casino operators, both land-based and online, as part of the research. It stated “the response from participants has been unanimous: cannibalisation has not been occurring”.

When asked about the impact online casino had had on land-based revenue, 20% of participants said it had “moderately increased”, while 80% said it had “stayed roughly the same”.

To the question “How would you describe the impact the introduction of online casino has on land-based casino revenue?”, 100% of respondents said they did not believe cannibalisation fears are valid.