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Brazil – Casino bill to be discussed in committee

By - 19 December 2023

The Constitution and Justice Commission (CCJ) will be able to vote on bill PL 2234/22 on Wednesday (20). The draft of the law, which aims to allow for large scale casinos and other types of gambling, was sent to the Senate for discussion in May by the President of the Senate Rodrigo Pacheco. The bill (PL 442/91) was passed in the lower house and is now in the senate under the name draft Law No. 2234/2022. The text replaces as many as 20 other gambling related projects all of which have been discussed over many years.

The bill can go forward as Senator Irajá’s report was in favour of approving the proposal.

According to the Senate news agency the text authorizes the installation of casinos in tourist centres or integrated leisure complexes, under the limit of one casino in each state and the Federal District, with the exception of São Paulo, which may have up to three casinos, and Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas and Pará, in which the limit for each state is two casinos. According to the proposal, gaming houses will also be able to operate on sea and river vessels. The casino must demonstrate a minimum paid-up share capital of at least R$100 million and may be allowed to operate for 30 years.

The proposal also establishes rules for both traditional bingo and electronic bingo, and allows each state the accreditation of one legal entity for every 700 thousand inhabitants to operate bingo. In the case of bingo, the license will be valid for 25 years, renewable for the same period. Horse racing may be operated by tourism entities accredited by the Ministry of Agriculture, which may also be accredited to operate, at the same time, bingo and video bingo games.

According to the proposal, two new taxes will be created and must be paid by licensed gaming and betting operators: the Gaming and Betting Inspection Fee (Tafija) and the Economic Intervention Contribution levied on the commercialisation of games and bets (Cide-Jogos). The forecast is that Cide-Jogos will have a tax rate of up to 17 per cent on the gross revenue of betting companies.

The project also aims to put in place the implementation of a registry of people who will be prevented from placing bets and entering gaming houses; creates the National Policy for the Protection of Players and Bettors; and provides guidelines for preventing and combating money laundering.

In his report, Irajá dismissed as an “indeterminate legal concept” the offence against morals and good customs, used as an argument against gambling, and highlighted the fact that the project seeks to transfer to State control a practice that today constitutes a misdemeanour. Citing statistics on the legal or illegal betting market, Irajá concludes that “gambling already constitutes a relevant economic activity”.

Senator Irajá is a supporter of a much larger expansion of the gambling industry. In 2020 the senator put forward his own pro gambling bill. In February 2022 he argued that his gambling bill (more widely known in Brazil as the “Sheldon Adelson Law”) would double tourist numbers to Brazil in five years from 6 to 12 million.

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