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Brazil – New government could spell the end for Brazil’s casino hopes

By - 29 October 2018

Far-right candidate and ex-soldier Jair Bolsonaro 63 has defeated his leftist rival in the Brazilian elections. The candidate had an eight to 10 point lead over his leftist opponent coming into the second round. Bolsonaro, won with 55.5 per cent of the vote after defeating left wing candidate Fernando Haddad, a former Sao Paulo mayor.

Electoral authorities confirmed the victory on Sunday. Bolsonaro based his campaign around promises to put an end to corruption and crime. Bolsonaro has been a highly controversial figure and has polarised opinion with homophobic comments, calls for looser gun laws, attacks on the left and praise for Brazil’s 1964-85 military dictatorship.

Bolsonaro will come into power on January 1. After his victory in a video transmitted from his home in Rio de Janeiro, the congressman pledged to rule following the Bible and the constitution: ‘We cannot continue flirting with socialism, communism, populism and the extremism of the left,’ he said.

Bolsonaro’s election will have far-reaching implications on the future of pro gaming law being drafted in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. While there had been a number of reports which argued that he may well have allowed for pro gaming laws Bolsonaro had remained largely silent on the issue. According to a number of local press reports Bolsonaro’s intention could have been to identify the areas where it would be possible to generate more jobs and generate the highest taxes, but he did not want to generate controversy amongst his evangelical support base ahead of the election.

However, he strongly denied supporting any pro gaming Laws in a live 21-minute Facebook feed last week where he listed and countered each claim made about him by his opponent’s campaign and news which had been attributed to him in the media.

Arguing that an expansion of gambling in the country would lead to money laundering and would harm families he said: “This is new, that I will legalise the casinos in Brazil! I am going to legalize the casinos in Brazil! You can believe this lie? We know that casinos, here in Brazil if they existed, would be a great laundry, would serve to launder money. And also to destroy the families, that many people would give themselves to gambling and the chaos would be present in the bosom of the families here in Brazil.”

His anti gaming stance and conservative values coinciding with the rapid growth of evangelical denominations across Brazil could prove to be a serious blow to years of work in both houses to allow for casinos and a wider expansion of gambling. Senate Bill No. 186/2014 would allow for 35 resort casinos with at least one per state while some states would be permitted to have as many as three. Meanwhile, House Bill No. 442/1991 in the Lower House would also permit casinos in integrated resorts. At the same time impetus had been growing driven by The Brazilian Tourist Board (EMBRATUR) , the Ministry of Tourism, and the National Forum of State Secretaries and Directors of Tourism (FORNATUR) all of which have been urging lawmakers in the lower house to try to push forward bills which would legalise casino gaming.

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