Brazil – Sergipe latest state to give sports betting the go aheadBy James - 10 October 2022
Brazil’s smallest state, the state of Sergipe, is the latest to give sports betting the go ahead. The government issued Decree 159 which allows for the running of both a new state lottery and sports betting (including esports) by the private sector. Both will be supervised by the Secretary of Finance.
It will be up to the Secretary of the State Treasury, through the Superintendency of Sergipe State Lotteries Public Service (Suplese), to plan, organize and supervise sports betting and other games which will be run by the private sector via a licence. Newly authorised products include passive lotteries both online and via retailers, number games, instants as well as well fixed odds sports betting.
It joins a growing list of states which have given sports betting the green light in what could be the biggest shake up of the gaming sector in decades. Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Ceará, Espírito Santo and the state of Maranhão are just a few of the other states to have also passed similar laws.
The expansion of the sector on a state by state level was only made possible by the Supreme Court. In September 2020, the Supreme Court of Brazil ruled that the federal government’s lottery monopoly was unconstitutional, paving the way for states to develop state lotteries for each of Brazil’s 26 states and one federal district as long as they comply with federal regulations. This means that current operators can extend their offerings while states will begin to roll out their own lottery products within their own state borders.
The ruling came after the state of Rio de Janeiro took the federal government to the Supreme Court when the federal government directed the state to shut its lottery operations after the lottery began to offer new games. Attorney General of the State of Rio de Janeiro argued that due to the closure of the Rio de Janeiro State Lottery (Loterj) in 2017, they would lose more than $3.5m per year. The STF is the court of last resort of Brazil, and its rulings cannot be appealed.
Online and land based sportsbetting was permitted by the federal government in December 2018 via Law No. 13,758/18. Sportsbetting was categorised as a lottery. Consequently all states could possibly operate sports betting within their territories.
Federal sports betting legislation has been pending now for over four years. In December 2018, President Michel Temer signed Bill 846/2018 into law to regulate land- based and interactive sportsbetting. The Ministry of Finance was granted two years to establish a regulatory framework to govern the market and provide for licences. The draft of the presidential decree to regulate the sports betting market in Brazil had been scheduled to become law on 10 May once signed by the President.
However the decree was delayed after Bolsonaro held a meeting with conservative legislator Marco Feliciano. Feliciano said that he had convinced Jair Bolsonaro as the practice went against the evangelical faith and would pave the way for the opening up of land based casinos.