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Brazil – 200,000 leave Brazil to gamble every month

By - 8 March 2016

The President of the Brazilian Institute of Gaming Magno José de Sousa Santos has told Congress that as many as 200,000 Brazilians leave the country in order to gamble each month.

Speaking before the Special Committee in the House of Representatives, which is currently considering proposals in order to create a regulatory framework for gaming in Brazil, Mr. Sousa said that around 150,000 Brazilians travel a year to casinos in Las Vegas alone and that 70 per cent of players in casinos in Uruguay are Brazilian.

“The lack of a regulatory framework in the area of gaming leads Brazilians to bet in casinos in South America, mainly in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay,” he said. “Travel agents in countries belonging to the Mercosur region bring Brazilians over to stay in hotels with casinos in these countries,” he said.

Mr. Souza said that Brazil is losing out on around R$17bn a year in gaming tax revenue and that the ban on gaming in Brazil has led to a significant increase in illegal gaming as well saying that illegal gambling amounts to around R$18.9bn, almost twice the amount generated by the legal sphere.

The special commission tasked with drafting the regulatory framework for gaming in Brazil has heard from a wide number of experts over recent weeks. Last month the commission held a public hearing to hear the opinions of experts from abroad in order to more fully understand the operation of casinos and how gaming is regulated in other countries.

Impetus is growing for reform and new gaming legislation is being debated as part of “Brazil Agenda” a set of new rules put forward by the President of the Senate, Renan Calheiros – a business-friendly agenda which is designed to provide a much needed boost to economic growth. Casinos were first banned in 1946 by President Eurico Gaspar Dutra claiming they spread prostitution and encouraged the mafia and money laundering. This saw the immediate closure of around 70 casinos. Before the ban Brazilian casinos were some of the most famous in the world and generated a significant proportion of government finances.

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