The special commission tasked with drafting the regulatory framework for gaming in Brazil has held a public hearing to hear the opinions of experts from abroad in order to more fully understand the operation of casinos and how gaming is regulated in other countries.
Those who attended the meeting include partner at law firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Anthony N. Cabot one of the world’s leading authorities on legislation and gaming regulation; the Executive Vice President of Fertitta Entertainment, Tobin Prior; the Senior Vice President for Government Relations at Las Vegas Sands, Andrew Abboud and the Director of Corporate Affairs for Las Vegas Sands John T. Foley.
The request for a public hearing was made by Deputy Fernando Monteiroa a supporter of pro gaming legislation. The deputy defended the new law citing the large investments made in large scale resorts in destinations such as Singapore which has only granted two licenses but has attracted investments of around six billion dollars.
“We have to take advantage of the successful experiences rather than following models adopted in many countries that simply spread small casinos throughout the territory. We want every investor licensed to put in resources in cities that house the casino,” he said and added that integrated resorts – similar to resorts which are already up and running in Atlantic City and the Bahamas generate jobs, investment in infrastructure, and contribute to the socioeconomic development of the region.
Asked by Congressman Herculano Passos about the risks of casinos and money laundering, Mr Cabot said that the issue of money laundering should not prevent the government from passing new laws arguing that large scale casinos in jurisdictions such as Singapore, Macau and Las Vegas are very closely regulated with very tight security.
The number of casinos was also discussed in the meeting. Mr Abboud, cited the case of Singapore, where specific bidding rules were formulated specifically to each area. He also recommended that the number of casinos in each region is limited and that specific licenses are adopted for each type of game and noted that licences should be granted to companies with a proven track record in the industry.
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.