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Brazil – Instants to go back on sale in March

By - 15 January 2024

Special adviser to the Ministry of Finance José Francisco Manssur has confirmed that instant lottery Lotex will be on sale once again in March.

The Ministry of Finance authorized Caixa the right to offer instant lottery Lotex on 28 December. New rules give Caixa the right to issue instants for a period of 24 months including online instants  after President Lula signed a decree that regulated Lotex in August 2023.

Speaking to local news media outlet Globo, Manssur said that the government was going ahead with its plans to let Caixa sell instant tickets for a specified period. Caixa’s operation will continue until the bidding for interested companies is opened and finalized by the government. The bank’s project for resuming national distribution must be delivered to the Ministry of Finance by the end of January while instants will be in lottery outlets by March.

“Five years ago, only Caixa had a sufficient distribution network for Lotex . . . We will launch the bidding notice for other companies, but we have already released the emergency (notice), with Lotex operating through Caixa for 24 months. Caixa has to start operating scratch cards in March and put the products on the street,” he said.

Instants will eventually come under a new gambling board which has yet to be established. The board in turn will come under the Ministry of Finance.  

Getting instants back on the market has been a long running saga. The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) a federal public company associated with the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade and the main financing agent for development in Brazil first oversaw the failed privatisation of Caixa’s instant lottery arm. Public tenders for selecting the operator lasted years and were abandoned several times due to a lack of interest.  

In 2019 a consortium Consórcio Estrela Instantânea formed by SGI and IGT won the bid for Lotex. It was expected to be fully operational by the end of 2020 but was delayed because of COVID-19. The consortium ultimately withdrew from its contract in October 2020 announcing that the decision had been taken as a result of a failure to establish a distribution agreement with Caixa Federal: a deal that both companies believed was integral to the success of the business model. In addition in a joint statement the company cited the Brazilian Supreme Court decision to allow states to offer their own lotteries as one of the reasons behind their move.

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