Details of deadly shooting
Five people were killed after shots were fired inside a casino in the Chilean capital of Santiago. The killings have led to some local politicians using the incident as a reason to crack down on gambling in the region.
Witnesses said an argument took place between a woman and a man outside the casino. Another man is believed to have involved himself in the argument.
The attacker then drew his gun, resulting in the man seeking safety by running inside the casino. The gunman followed him into the gambling establishment before firing multiple shots wildly.
Four men and one woman were killed in the shooting, with shots ringing across the casino floor. People attempted to find cover wherever possible to try and get out of the way. There were 70 shell casings found at the scene, and investigations are under way.
Surveillance systems from inside the casino captured extensive footage of the incident. However, the perpetrator remains at large.
Legality of gambling in Chile
It was only in 2018 that slot machines became legal in a widespread manner in Chile. Previously, only large casino resorts could offer slots to customers. Currently, there are a dozen such casinos operating in the country.
Small businesses must prove that their slot machines are a form of recreation before they can be offered to patrons. While their recreational purpose implies there is no exchange of money, this is not what is happening in reality.
According to Senator Alejandro Navarro, many illegal slot machine parlors are opening across the country. This includes the casino where the fatal shooting took place. The senator also claimed:
It is clear that these illegal casinos, wherever they are, are dangerous.”
He spoke to a local news outlet about the “serious situation”, saying “it is clear that these illegal casinos, wherever they are, are dangerous.”
Reaction from industry insiders
Some representatives of the gambling industry have replied negatively to the senator’s comments. Ramon Sepulveda, a spokesperson for a leading manufacturer of slot machines in the region, questioned why casinos should be closed if there is a shooting.
He asked: “If they assaulted someone in a bank, should the banks be closed and banned? That is the logic that the senator applies.”