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Brazil – Delay with Gaming Act in Brazil over money laundering fears

By - 4 August 2016

Gaming law in Brazil faces another setback as senators have decided to re-examine draft law which had already been approved in committee stage. Brazil’s new gaming act will be once again be sent to the The Special Committee on National Development in the Senate for debate before it can be sent before the full Senate for approval.

This was after Senator Fernando Bezerra Coelho made a request that the law be returned to the committee for further discussion. The senator claimed that more time was needed after hearing from representatives from a number of government agencies who had made it clear that the bill needed changes before being enshrined into law.
Among the agencies involved in the talks with the senator were the Federal Police and the Public Prosecutor’s office. Bezerra said that after hearing what they had to say it was clear that the project needed to be improved upon specifically in order to prevent money laundering. The Senate agreed and the bill will once more go back to the committee for further debate.

The proposal was originally on the agenda for debate on July 6 but Senators postponed the vote on new gambling laws for three days. After that it believed that the Senate would begin the analysis of the new bill once the Olympic Games were over. But this latest development could delay the process for some time.

Brazil’s Public Prosecutor’s Office had already suggested that a number of “stringent” mechanisms were added to to the current proposals in order to prevent money laundering and tax evasion. In February the Prosecutor’s Office argued that, rather than increasing tax revenue for the state the new bill could “encourage money laundering and tax evasion in Brazil” as the size of the industry would overwhelm supervisory bodies.

Gambling has been earmarked amongst three other major policy changes as an urgent priority by the President of the House, Senator Renan Calheiros. Calheiros announced in June that the Senate would vote on a number of controversial projects that have had met with no agreement and have been stalled for years.
The bill proposes the legalisation of casinos, bingo halls, slot parlours and the popular “Jogo do Bicho” or “Animal Game.” The text defines the types of gaming that can be played in Brazil, the criteria for how licences are to be granted and the rules for the distribution of prizes as well as how gaming is to be taxed in the future.

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