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Brazil – Major changes to Brazil’s gambling bill in Chamber of Deputies

By - 18 February 2022

Along with a small number of other deputies President of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, has made a number of modifications to the gambling bill now due for debate in the lower house.

As reported by BNL Data, the clause that would have allowed bingo halls and video bingo machines at racetracks was excluded from the text. The revised version of the bill would replace sportsbetting Law No. 13,756 and would put the government and a newly established gaming board in charge of both land based and online sportsbetting. Law No. 13,756 was signed by then President of Brazil, Michel Temer in 2018 and legalised sports betting.

This could be controversial as Brazil’s Secretariat of Evaluation, Planning, Energy and Lottery (SECAP) has been working on how sportsbetting will be regulated for some years and last year the ex head of SECAP went as far to say that the privatization of sportsbetting would go ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The revised version would also cap the number of online sports betting and casino operators limiting licences to one for every one million inhabitants, in each of Brazil’s federative units. In states or the Federal District with less than 1 million inhabitants, only one operator would be licensed. Limits would also be imposed on licences for the popular street lottery game “the animal game” (“jogo do bicho”).

The new text establishes that the federal government and a supervisory body may authorize, sports betting and jogo do bicho, both online and via landbased outlets.

Regulations covering the IR model have not been changed nor have the proposed tax rates. However new provisions have been put in place that would grant a 24 month grace period for illegal operators to close once the new law is passed.

According to local news outlet UOL the evangelical caucus in the Chamber of Deputies will continue to side with President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) even if gambling is allowed in the country with support from the federal government. Deputies belonging to the caucus do not want the issue to cause a divide in the support for right wing President Jair Bolsonaro. For evangelical lawmakers it is preferable to continue alongside Bolsonaro so that he continues to support the conservative agenda. 

A divide over gambling would damage the president’s image and end up benefiting more left-wing political opponents, such as former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. General elections are scheduled to be held in Brazil on 2 October 2022 to elect the President, Vice President, and the National Congress.

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