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Brazil – Brazilian amendment seeks to only allow gaming in large scale resorts

By - 5 March 2018

Deputy César Halum has accused fellow lawmakers of “fraud” when it comes to favouring casinos in large-scale resorts.

Speaking in parliament Mr. Halum claimed that an amendment in the law, which are designed to make structural changes to the Brazilian Tourist Board (EMBRATUR), would favour foreign interests as it would only allow for large-scale casinos in resorts.

The deputy called it a “pirate amendment”, because he argued that it is an amendment that has little or almost nothing to do with the main issue of the original bill. In his speech, Mr. Halum explained that the creation of these casinos would only generate 10,000 thousand jobs, when the release of all types of gaming in Brazil, would generate as many as one million new jobs, which are vital for the growth of municipalities and the states.

Mr. Halum explained that the measures now on the table, which would be passed as a larger emergency measures and would no longer have to go through the committee stage, would only favour half a dozen foreign companies seeking to have a privileged position in the Brazilian gaming market.

“The legalisation of gaming must be to address the problems of the municipalities, the State and all of Brazil. That is why you have to legalise bingo, “Jogo do Bicho” (a popular street lottery), online gaming and everything else. We must legalise all (games) or not legalise anything. We are not going to allow this coup to take place in the plenary,” said the Deputy.
Mr. Halum has been a long time supporter of pro gaming laws, as they would generate new jobs and resources in Brazil. He is also a member of the Parliamentary Front for the Approval of the Regulatory Framework for Games in Brazil which was founded in October 2017.

The government is currently focusing on tourism in order to attract foreign investment and increase tourist numbers. Changes to Embratur would make travel to and within Brazil cheaper by allowing increased foreign investment in domestic airlines. It is also hoping to quadruple the budget of Brazil’s tourism board, and is working to overhaul its promotion strategy and modernise tourism laws. The measures were annexed together late last year so that they can be approved as a matter of urgency. However, Minsiter of Tourism Marx Beltrão now wants to include five star casino resorts as part of the new changes to Brazil’s tourism laws.

On February 21 the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, announced that he would begin the voting process of the projects that are part of the “Mais Turismo” (“More Tourism”) project. Mr. Maia announced the timing of the vote to a group composed of members of the Parliamentary Committee of Tourism of the Chamber and of the Parliamentary Front for the Defence of Tourism, trade leaders of the National Tourism Council (CNTur), the Minister of Tourism, Marx Beltrão, and the President of Embratur, Vinicius Lummertz. He was joined by the head of the government in the house, Deputy Agnaldo Ribeiro. Once the urgency of the bill has been approved, there will be no need to evaluate the projects by committee.
The President of Embratur, Vinicius Lummertz, stressed the importance of the steps taken by the Chamber, not only in relation to the future of tourism, but also in relation to the economy of the country.

“As in many countries, Brazil needs strong tourism to generate jobs and push the economy forward. We have huge potential in tourism. Once these measures are approved, we will be able to become a powerhouse in the industry,” Mr. Lummertz said.
The Minister of Tourism, Marx Beltrão, who has been at the forefront of the process of elaborating and seeking government support for the measures of “Mais Turismo”, also welcomed Maia’s decision. “Congress understands that we must take this vote of confidence and bet on these measures. This will benefit not only the 53 segments involved in the tourism production chain, but the country in general,” he said.

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