Following the publication last month of new nationwide guidelines that established clearer definitions for gambling machines, the Chilean state of Valparaiso has reportedly announced that it plans to be the first in the country to carry out an official count of such equipment.

According to a report from G3Newswire, a 1995 law prohibits the operation of slots outside of the nation’s private-members clubs or seven state-owned casinos while the Superintendencia De Casinos De Juego (SCJ) regulator was made the only body responsible for the award and renewal of licenses.

However, the past few decades have reportedly seen the proliferation of illegal gambling machines in “neighborhood casinos” throughout Chile as local authorities have often been unable to define the units as slots or amusements. A July study carried out by the Pontifical Catholic University Of Chile on behalf of the SCJ allegedly found that the South American nation is now home to more than 33,000 illegal slot machines, which are often being operated without any permission or certification.

The new January guidelines from the Comptroller General Of Chile reportedly established that those interested in operating any type of electronic gaming machine must first obtain a license from the SCJ, which was given the exclusive rights to determine what constitutes a slot versus an amusement machine. The regulator was moreover tasked with certifying official testing bodies while municipal authorities are now required to abide by all of the supervisor’s provisions and shut down any illegal operations.

“We have acted according to the framework provided by the [Comptroller General Of Chile],” read a statement from Jorge Sharp, mayor for the city of Valparaiso. “We are staggering the measures to avoid harming these entrepreneurs but we are ready to regulate the situation.”

Sharp reportedly explained that the state intends to begin its count in March and believes that its actions could see other regions in the nation follow suit as the Comptroller General Of Chile directives are now due to serve as the only set of rules when in comes to defining gambling machines.

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