Representatives of a number of tourism bodies have met at the Novotel Jaragua Hotel in São Paulo to discuss the future of gaming in Brazil.
Organised by Skal International São Paulo and the Brazilian Association of Resorts (ABR) the meeting had as a special guest Head of FRENTUR Congressman Herculano Passos. FRENTUR aims to improve legislation in the tourism industry in order to generate income and jobs.
The debate was moderated by Luigi Rotunno, President of ABR and Aristides Cury, President of Skal São Paulo and was attended by executives from a wide number of organisations and hotels.
At the beginning of the debate, Mr Rotunno said that Brazil was one of the few counties in Latin America which is yet to legalise gambling and that: “Seventy five per cent of countries belonging to the UN member have legalised gaming.” He said that the ABR is positioning itself for casinos, but expressed concern over how establishments should be supervised by the government and said that he was in favour of a high level of government scrutiny over the industry. He added that tax imposed on casinos should be relatively low and stand at around five to 10 per cent.
The ABR has called for a transparent licensing process which will allow for casinos in hotels and resorts with the idea being that casinos will add to the amenities on offer. Meanwhile Congressman Herculano Passos said that the economy would greatly benefit from a well regulated industry which would serve to create jobs in the hospitality sector.
“Brazil could raise R$20bn in the first year and reach R$100bn over the next 10,” he said.
However he pointed out that approving exactly how the industry will be taxed would be difficult due to the scale of the industry and the amounts of tax revenue involved.
Passos seemed optimistic that gaming legislation could be approved soon despite the current crisis in Brazil. This was because legislation dealing with other aspects of gaming such as the “Animal Game” and bingo would be dealt with in separate legislation. Meanwhile a number of proposals would put a cap on the amount of foreign investment while other proposals would ban international investment in the industry altogether. Despite these differences he said lawmakers could approve the law by the end of this year.
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. The text of the new version of the bill would allow for 35 casinos, with at least one per state while some states would be permitted to have as many as three, depending on the population and the economic outlook in each state.