More than 3,000 businesses were visited by researchers as part of a study conducted by the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies at The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile on behalf of the Chilean Gaming Control Board (SJC), which found that upwards of 33,000 gambling machines are now operating illegally in the country, according to a G3 Newswire report.

The results of the first-ever study, which according to the report visited businesses possessing a municipal license granting the operation of gaming arcades, will now be delivered to the 88 municipalities where 1,327 of the 3,000 businesses were found to be housing machines that awarded cash prizes; a direct violation of Chile’s gaming laws. According to federal law, casinos may only house slot machines. It will now be up to the respective municipal governments, which were distributed the results of the study, as well as the Undersecretary of Regional Development and the Comptroller General of Chile (General Accounting Office), which will also be receiving the results, to take the appropriate measures to try to prevent illegal gambling from escalating.

According to the report, gaming halls were defined by the study as businesses which possessed a municipal license, whose primary activity was operating gaming machines, no matter how many slot machines were on site. Not included were “neighborhood shops” where gaming machines were allowed but were not the primary business.

Due to the ambiguous nature of the distinction between slot machines and skill-based machines that award prizes, and local governments allowing the operation of amusement arcades in their jurisdictions, the increase of illegal slot parlors has been relegated to local municipalities, according to the report. An effect of the aforementioned is that many slot parlors operate both, with revenue from slots increasing. Variations of video poker, bingo, coin pusher games, and lotteries were identified by the study as belonging to the slot category.

In other Chilean news, a report was recently released by the SJC, which showed that while gambling venues in the country continued to see growth over the past twelve months, in comparing last year May to the same time this year, gaming revenues decreased by 2.5 percent. Slated to open by September 4, the Ovalle Casino Resort,is expected to help boost numbers.