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Brazil – Brazil takes a major step towards legalising casino gaming

By - 24 February 2022

The Chamber of Deputies has approved, by 246 votes to 202, the basic text of the bill that legalizes gaming in Brazil, such as casinos, bingos, the animal game and online games, through licenses on a permanent basis or for a determined period. Starting today the Plenary can vote on the highlights presented by the parties in an attempt to make changes to Bill 442/91.

According to the text, casinos may be installed in resorts as part of an integrated leisure complex that must contain at least 100 high-end hotel rooms, meeting and event venues, restaurants, bars and shopping centres. The physical space of the casino must be, at most, equal to 20 per cent of the complex’s built-up area, and electronic and roulette, card games and other authorized modalities will be permitted. In order to determine where casinos can be opened, the Executive Branch must consider the existence of the tourism industry and the economic and social potential of the region.

There may be three casinos when the state’s population is greater than 25 million. Only one region currently meets this requirement: São Paulo. For states with more than 15 million and up to 25 million inhabitants, there may be two casinos (this will be the case for Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro). In other states and in the Federal District, with a population of up to 15 million inhabitants, there may be only one casino.

Each economic group may hold only one licence per state, and licensing will be carried via a public bidding process which be decided on the technical and financial bids put forward by potential operators. Additionally, the Executive Branch may grant the operation of up to two establishments in leisure complexes in states measuring more than 1 million square km in size.

In locations classified as tourist centres or destinations, the installation of a casino will be allowed, regardless of the population density of the state in which they are located. The proposal defines these places as those that have a regional identity, adequate infrastructure and offer tourist services, high density of tourists and hold the title of being a natural heritage of humanity site. In addition tourism must already be an important economic activity in the area. A tourist casino will not be permitted to operate less than 100 km away from any casino integrated into a leisure complex.

A new measure was also included in the bill  as it allows the operation of casinos on river vessels, one for each river measuring 1,500 km to 2,500 km in length; two for each river with a length between 2,500 km and 3,500 km; and three per river with a length greater than 3,500 km. These vessels may not be anchored in the same location for more than 30 consecutive days, and there may up to ten of these licences. They must contain a minimum of 50 high-end rooms, restaurants and bars and shopping centres, as well as venues for events and meetings.

The law also permits municipalities and the Federal District to licence bingo halls. Bingo halls will also be allowed in stadiums with a capacity of over 15 thousand fans. Bingo halls must have a minimum capital of R$ 10 million and be located in places with a minimum area of ​​1,500 square meters, where up to 400 video bingo machines can also be located, but slot machines will be prohibited.

According to the text, at most, one bingo house will be allowed for every 150,000 inhabitants. Licenses will be granted for 25-years and will be renewable for an equal period.

For the legalization of the street lottery “the animal game”, the text requires that all the licensee’s records be placed online and that the government can access in real time financial data via a newly created System of Audit and Control (SAC). Interested parties must present a minimum share capital of R$ 10 million and reserve funds in guarantee for the payment of obligations and duties stipulated in the project, except for prizes, which may be in the form of a cash guarantee, insurance guarantee or bank guarantee. Accreditation will be for a period of 25 years, renewable for an equal period if the requirements are met. There may be, at most, one operator of this game for every 700 thousand inhabitants of the state or Federal District. In those with less than 700 thousand inhabitants, there can only be one accredited licence holder for the animal game.

If, after twelve months of the validity of the law there is still no regulation the provisional operation of video-bingo, bingo and the animal game will be authorized throughout the nation.

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