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Brazil – Senate 2014 gaming bill will go before plenary for debate

By - 11 April 2019

A gaming law which had been ruled out by a high powered committee will now be debated in the Senate. PLS 186/2014 has resurfaced once again after the Senator responsible for drafting the first version of the bill resubmitted it for consideration before the full house.

Senator Ciro Noguiera first submitted the bill in 2014 and the bill was later amended by Senator Benedito de Lira to include other forms of gambling. 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. The bill gained more support in September 2015 when it was revealed that Brazil could legalise gambling in order to raise money and help weather the recession and a number of lawmakers began to push the bill forward as a matter of urgency.

In October 2015 Senator Benedito de Lira asked for the Senate’s approval for Senator Noguiera’s 2014 law. Speaking in a plenary session, the senator asked for the approval of Senate Bill 186/2014, arguing that in times of crisis and due to lack of resources, the regulation of gambling in Brazil could increase tax generated by the state.

Among the benefits of regulation, he said were the promotion of tourism, an increased investment in infrastructure, job creation and increased tax collection.

The bill is arguably the widest gaming expansion bill on the table as it would authorise the street lottery known as “the animal game”, casinos, bingo halls and betting nationwide. Crucially it would also allow for online gaming as well.
However despite the urgent need to regulate the industry PLS 186/2014 was rejected in December 2016 with senators voting 44 votes in favour and 19 against with senators voting that it be returned for further analysis to the House Committee on Constitution, Justice and Citizenship (CCJ). As a result the proposal was withdrawn from the agenda and was subject to further analysis and the committee ultimately rejected the bill in March 2018. In addition in order to make its position even clearer The CCJ approved a separate symbolic vote put forward by Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, which asked that the proposal be overturned under the argument that the bill, if approved, could encourage criminal practices such as money laundering, in addition to increasing cases of gambling addiction.

However as the plenary has the ultimate say Noguiera filed an appeal and the bill will now proceed to the Senate floor, which will give senators the opportunity to approve or reject the proposal once and for all.

The news comes as a number of other moves to permit an expansion of gambling are gathering momentum including a challenge in The Supreme Court aimed at changing Brazil’s antiquated gaming laws. In addition the government has recently passed Provisional Measure 846/18 which will allow for sports betting on the internet and land based sports betting.

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