After years of delays, the Government of Brazil has finally managed to make a step forward to further explore the viability of a regulated sports betting market in the country. There has been a fierce debate over the expanded brick-and-mortar gambling services, but sports betting has been once again brought to the table.
On August 22nd, Celso Sabino, Brazil’s Minister of Tourism, took part in a luncheon organized by Entrepreneurship Parliamentary Front – a non-profit, supra-partisan civil group of Parliamentarians on the National Congress, seeking to boost the country’s social and economic development. The meeting has been considered a great opportunity for the interested parties to discuss the regulation of bingo halls, casinos, and games of chance in Brazil, which have had find it difficult to get widespread support in the past.
Mr. Sabrino supported the proposed country’s gambling expansion at the time he was a Deputy, citing the economic benefits that Brazil will get by allowing more forms of legal gambling. He has continued to speak in favor of the industry after becoming the Minister of Tourism earlier in August.
The proposed Regulatory Framework for Gambling, Bill 442/1991, is currently active in the Brazilian Senate after getting official approval from the Chamber of Deputies in October 2022. Congress members, who are in favor of the piece of legislation, believe that the local gambling and sports betting market could open up to 650,000 direct and indirect jobs and reach a worth of up to BRL20 billion.
Casinos Could Be Made Legal if Attached to Existing Resorts
Casinos could be legalized as part of already existing resorts or other tourism complexes across the country in case the Senate gives the green light to Bill 442. Such properties, however, would be required to meet a list of minimum requirements in order to host a gambling venue, such as the number of hotel rooms and restaurants available, as well as the presence of other amenities.
The President of Brazil’s Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, has previously warned that the regulation of sports betting services could open the door to casino gambling. However, local lawmakers are aware of the fact that the country has a long way to go until getting there.
As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, it took the Senate more than a year to address the legalization of sports betting. Reportedly, the former president of the country, Jair Bolsonaro, used his political influence to hold back the discussions. Now, as he is no longer President, local lawmakers might be more willing to back the casino expansion initiative but experts believe they will probably prefer to wait and see how well the regulated sports betting sector operates before making their next move.
Brazil has maintained strict bans on almost every form of gambling for over 80 years. Ever since the country’s general gambling ban was enacted back in 1941, state lotteries and betting on horse races have been the only legal forms of gambling permitted in Brazil. Under the local gambling laws, poker is currently considered a skill-based game, which basically exempts it from being considered illegal.
Then, in the 1990s, slot machines and bingo games were allowed for a short period of time, until getting prohibited once again in the mid-2000s. Although slot machines have been illegal since then, they have been thriving across the country, along with the popular Brazilian game of jogo de bicho – a type of lottery that is based on the official lottery draw’s results. The jogo de bicho game has been officially suspended in 25 of Brazil’s 26 states since 1946 but that hardly prevented it from growing in popularity across the country.