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Brazil – Amendments to sports betting bill likely in the senate

By - 18 September 2023

Now that Bill 3626/23 has passed in the lower house it now heads to the senate where it will head to committee stage.

The news was welcomed by the chief minister of the Secretariat of Institutional Relations, Alexandre Padilha, who said that the approval of the bill was a victory for the government.

“This is a project that was first aimed at legalizing an economic activity that is growing in Brazil and around the world. It is important to regularize it on paper. It is also necessary to organize this economic activity and take advantage of part of these resources to invest in sport, tourism, social security,” he said.

According to the bill passed in the lower house companies will keep 82% of gross revenue (after prizes and income tax). The remaining 18% will be divided between education (1.82%), sport (6.63%), tourism (5%), social security (2%) and the National Public Security Fund (2.55%).

Senate president Rodrigo Pacheco said last Thursday (14), after a meeting of leaders that it will now be sent to the appropriate committees for discussion.

“We know the importance of having structuring projects for the collection and support of the tax regime,” he said. 

However lawmakers are likely to make changes to the bill especially when it comes to advertising according to the Brazilian Senate News Agency (Agência Câmara de Notícias). 

Senator Eduardo Girão wants to prohibit advertising by sports betting companies in all mass media, such as newspapers, television, radio and social media. The senator also says he wants to prohibit betting companies from sponsoring teams, individual athletes and championships. He also proposed an amendment to prohibit companies from providing discounts, credits or any type of bonus to encourage the first bet.

“There is a very powerful lobby behind it [gambling] that is addicting young people to the elderly. People, who have never put a drop of alcohol in their mouth, because it is a national passion that is football, are falling for these bets because nowadays it is very difficult for you to watch a football match. It’s always “bet, bet, bet, bet”. They take the player who is the idol and have him advertise all the time,” said the senator in an interview with Agência Senado.

The bill in its current form already contains a number of advertising restrictions. However the senator not only wants further limits but also said that much is much to be desired overall from the bill which he says needs a lot of work. Girão said that the text would have a harmful effect overall and promised to work to reject it.

“We are going to fight here in the Senate so that the project passes through several committees and so that all fellow senators can understand how pernicious this sports betting project is. The text comes from the Chamber [to us] in a very bad way. We will need to have a lot of serenity and responsibility towards Brazil and Brazilians to reject it,” said the senator.

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