Chile Casinos have been told they can temporarily close down due to the state of emergency which has been declared in the country.
The gambling regulator released casinos from their obligation to provide services, warning that the safety of its workers could not be guaranteed any longer.
With hundreds injured and thousands under arrest, Chile is facing one of its worst periods of civil unrest in recent history.
Modest protests turn into uprising
Chile has long since been considered to be one of the most stable countries in South America so the widespread civil unrest has come as a shock to many. President Piñero has become an unpopular figure, with over a million people marching at the weekend demanding his resignation.
This latest wave of protests in Chile were originally confined to Santiago where the dissent was voiced over the increase in fares on the subway. However, what was initially a low-key and civil protest has rapidly spread around the country as people have taken the opportunity to get their voices heard about wider issues. Poverty and the yawning gap between the rich and the poor, plus unacceptable social conditions have all been cited as reasons for the riots.
From the capital of Santiago, the uprising has spread to many major cities including Concepción, Valparaíso and San Antonio.
Although the protests are said to be primarily peaceful now, there has been 20 people killed, 2500 hurt and a total of 2480 arrests.
Casinos warned to close
The gambling regulator has urged casinos to close their doors and put the welfare of staff above profits. The notice of suspension will remain in force while the circumstances of the country are considered to be “exceptional”.
The ruling allows casinos to suspend play without any penalty. It is not yet known how many casinos have opted to follow the advice in an industry which is booming within Chile.
With seven long-standing venues couples with 18 newer establishments, Chilean law was changed in 2005 to allow the expansion.
However, despite the popularity of casinos in Chile, there are none located in
Santiago itself. Enjoy Santiago is the nearest, lying almost an hour away and buried deep in the heart of the countryside.
The remote locations of the casinos help to explain why none have been targeted so far, but with regulators warning that the safety of neither staff nor players can be guaranteed, it seems certain some will close as a precaution.