The National Congress will be able to vote on gaming legislation in the first half of this year according to Rodrigo Maia the President of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies.
According to Maia, pictured, the two Houses of Parliament are now working together on a “compromise text,” which seeks to integrate gaming activity into the tourism and entertainment industry. “I think there’s a majority,” he said.
The issue was raised last week during Maia’s meeting with members of the Brazil-US Chamber of Commerce in Washington. Las Vegas Sands representative Andy Abbud told the congressman that the company and other large US companies are ready to invest “billions” in casinos in Brazil if there is an “appropriate regulatory environment.”
Maia said there are three lobbies working in Congress: one, which advocates bingo halls, another which is in favour of gaming machines outside of casinos and another which is proposing the legalisation of casinos in order to attract investment to the tourism sector. The lawmaker said he was in favour of the third option.
In his opinion, the eventual law for the sector should criminalise activities that are not currently under the scope of the current text such as the ‘jogo do bicho’ or ‘animal game’ a highly popular street lottery.
“Our interest is that gaming generates investments in the tourism and entertainment sectors,” he said during the meeting at the Chamber of Commerce.
Deputy Maia has been a long time supporter of large-scale casinos as part of entertainment complexes and resorts.
Speaking at the state meeting of his party in July 2016, the right leaning Democrats Party (Democratas, DEM) Rodrigo Maia said: “I am in favour of gaming as being part of the chain of entertainment, in favour of casinos and resorts as investment in the network of events and also gaming. This path will bring billions and billions to Brazil. Today, Brazil has eight thousand illegal machines and nobody does anything about it. Either you make progress towards something serious, or you end up with what you have already – money laundering every day,” he said.
Maia was elected as President of the House in July 2016 in the second round ballot with 285 votes versus 170. He plays a key role in the new policies of the government namely cutting public spending and opening up the economy.