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05 October 2011
The cruising vessel market in Chile is struggling. Despite the sector showing constant growth elsewhere in the world, cruise vessels calling at Chilean ports have decreased dramatically since 2008, with an accumulated fall of 40% between 2008 and the 2010 to 2011 season.
This trend has been caused first by the high maritime and pilotage costs for ship operators, and second by the current prohibition on the functioning of game casinos in territorial waters. However, this may be about to change.
Under the Casinos Law (19,995), which establishes the general basis for the authorisation, functioning and oversight of game casinos, the following barriers exist to entering the market:
Furthermore, the casino licence holder must not be the vessel's shipowner, operator, charterer or handler and the operating company's domicile must be a city within a port included in the circuit.
As part of the government's aim of increasing economic competitiveness and bringing Chile in line with other relevant markets, a draft amendment to the law has been proposed. Such amendment aims to diminish the aforementioned barriers to competition within the cruise vessels market. The proposed changes include:
Finally, control and oversight of such casinos will be taken from the common regulation established by the Casinos Law. The law will be subject to compliance with local regulations only in situations relating to money laundering.
Under the proposed changes, the excessively onerous requirements currently in force for the exploitation of casino games in cruising vessels will be at least partially eliminated. It is hoped that this will lead to an increase in cruising vessels' activities in Chile in line with such activities worldwide.
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