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Brazil – Brazilian bill aims to decriminalise gambling in resorts and hotels

By - 8 October 2019

A new bill put forward by Deputy Eduardo Bismarck would allow for an expanse of gambling nationwide. PL 5319/2019 seeks to amend the Criminal Offenses Act, to authorise gambling in leisure resorts and hotels authorised by the Federal Executive Branch.

Under Brazilian law any game involving a bet is a crime according the Criminal Contravention Act of 1941. As this law still stands, any type of gaming activity that does not have its own regulations is considered to come under the Act.

The text presented by Congressman directly changes the text of article 50 and would lift the gambling ban for “leisure resorts and casino hotels authorised by a regulatory body designated by the Federal Executive Power.”

In his justification for changes to the law the Deputy argues that gambling in Brazil is widely practiced, and the fact that it is illegal does not prevent the activity from occurring. As a result Brazilians would have a safe regulated space in order to gamble if current rules were changed. In addition regulating the industry would be beneficial to society as it would raise much needed income for the government.

The bill now awaits the order of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia. It may either be voted on in a plenary session or referred for discussion in other house committees.

It is not the first attempt to legalise gambling by changing the 1941 Act. Proposed changes to the law were submitted to the Federal Supreme Court by the Partido Humanista da Solidariedade (Humanist Party of Solidarity) in January and aim to nullify laws which make the private operation of gambling illegal. According to a PHS party statement at the time, gaming laws as enshrined by Article 50 of the Misdemeanour Law or Criminal Contravention Act and decree Law No 9215 of 1946 (which cover morality and good customs), go against the fundamental right of equality provided for in article 5 of the Federal Constitution.

Caption: The shuttered Playboy Casino in Cancun

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