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Brazil – Vote on sports betting bill delayed

By - 30 November 2023

The Senate has postponed the vote on the online gambling bill (PL 3626/23). According to local press the government made the decision due to fears that there would not be enough senators present to meet the minimum number of members to form a quorum. A number of senators will be absent as they will be attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai which begins today and ends on December 12th. 

With the absence of President Rodrigo Pacheco, the vice president, Senator Veneziano Vital , announced that Pacheco will decide on the vote next week. Pacheco is part of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s delegation to the conference but is expected to return next week. However time is running out as it will need to be approved before the end of the year for it to be included in next year’s budget. The parliamentary recess begins on December 22nd and for it to be included, the proposal will have to be approved by then.

On Wednesday (29 November) senators opposing the Lula government, spoke out against the bill and are negotiating an alternative to the text as they believe that it would open a loophole for the operation of virtual casinos. To change their position regarding its approval, the opposition wants, in exchange, the inclusion of an amendment to the text that bans “the installation or availability of equipment in physical establishments that are intended for the sale of bets in a virtual environment.”

The project’s rapporteur, Senator Ângelo Coronel did not support the change. “I will keep the text already read in plenary,” he told press.

Ângelo Coronel proposed a number of changes to PL 3626/23 all of which were approved by members of the committee including the inclusion of online casinos in the bill. While license fees remained unchanged at R$30 million the committee agreed to reduce the federal tax rate on GGR from 18%, halved the tax on player winnings and increased the duration of licenses to five years as opposed to three as had been initially outlined in the version of the bill as drafted in the lower house. In addition each licensed company will be able to run three online betting platforms according to the new proposals. Meanwhile a foreign company will need to have a Brazilian partner holding at least 20% of the company’s share capital in order to operate in Brazil.

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