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Brazil – Committee begins debate over gaming in Brazil

By - 24 November 2015

The Special Committee on National Development in the Brazilian Senate will meet for the first time in order to discuss a project that would allow for gaming in Brazil.

The committee will discuss a revised version of a bill initially put forward by Senator Ciro Nogueira in 2014 which proposes the legalisation of the of casinos, bingo halls, slot parlours and the popular “Jogo do Bicho” or “Animal Game” this week. The text defines the types of gaming that can be played in Brazil, the criteria for how licences are to be granted and the rules for the distribution of prizes as well as how gaming is to be taxed in the future. However, while the fundamental principles of the bill remain the same a number of changes to the original bill have been put forward by Senator Blairo Maggi.

The state’s role will be limited to the creation of a clear legislative framework in which casinos may operate and the state will also be responsible for the supervision and monitoring of gambling in the country. The bill also puts forward proposals that the Jogo do Bicho should be decriminalised.

Senator Blairo Maggi (PR-MT) said that the initiative “is appropriate in order to regulate gambling in the country” as gaming is already a reality in Brazil even though it is illegal. In addition he said illegal gambling helps encourage corruption as money generated by the illegal sector is used to bribe government officials.

The new bill would allow each state to allow for bingos and the animal game while casino rooms would be regulated by the central government. According to the new draft, individual states will be responsible for regulating the authorisation of licensees in their respective territories. Casino licences will be granted for 20 years and may be renewed for an equal period. The state where gaming operations are located will charge a seven per cent tax on gross revenues while the municipalities will be entitled to three per cent of gaming revenues.

The inclusion of the bill as part of “Brazil Agenda” a business-friendly agenda which is designed to provide a boost to economic growth and overcome the major political crisis in Brazil bodes well for possible regulation as it could generate billions in much needed additional revenue.

The new debate comes at a time when the bill is already being discussed in a special public hearing which has been convened to discuss proposals surrounding the possible legalisation of gambling in the future. The bill has already gained support amongst those involved in the tourist industry who have already come out and publicly expressed their support for pro gaming legislation.

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