Brazil’s Senate has decided to postpone the discussions on the proposed legalization of sports betting in the country – a move that only further extended the saga of authorizing the new form of gambling and left the fate of the proposed legislation uncertain.
The Senate Sports Commission unexpectedly canceled a meeting that was supposed to take place on November 7th to deliberate on the legalization and regulation of sports betting in Brazil. At the time, the legislative chamber had not explained the surprising decision and no further details on when the discussions might be rescheduled to take place.
Time continues to pass, as a looming deadline of November 11th for a final vote on the bill is still being displayed on the Senate’s website. That is a couple of weeks after the original placement of the matter on the chamber’s agenda.
Under the proposed piece of legislation, a foundational 18% tax rate for online casino and sports betting operators is set to be implemented. However, for the time being, the legalization of online gambling is still not included in the ongoing consideration for the potential expansion of Brazil’s gambling legal sector.
Brazilian lawmakers are trying to deal with the lack of understanding associated with proposed tax rates, with a push to make the country’s taxation system more flexible. Currently, efforts to reduce the sports betting tax rate from 18% to 12% have been underway, while the higher rate of 18% is maintained for online gambling.
Some senators have been insisting on the complete removal of online gambling discussions from the bill.
Regulation of Brazil’s Gambling Sector Experiences Long and Turbulent Journey
The long and turbulent journey of Brazil toward the regulation of gambling activities started with the publication of a Provisional Measure in July 2023. The move marked the culmination of five-year-long debates. A few months later, on October 18th, the Senate decided to put off its vote on the issue after receiving a request for a comprehensive review of the matter.
After receiving the Chamber of Deputies’ approval, the piece of legislation is currently undergoing simultaneous processing by the Economic Affairs Commission (CAE). Once it receives approval from both committees, the bill is set to proceed further to the Senate Plenary for a final decision. Unfortunately for gambling and sports betting industry stakeholders, there has been no clarity on the matter, so they have been forced to await the outcome of the protracted legislative process that is simply taking too long.
The proposed piece of legislation has already received the support of Senator Romário de Souza Faria. However, some concerns were raised during the legislative discussions regarding the insufficient time that was given to the local lawmakers to complete a thorough examination of the bill’s provisions and the expected legislative effects.
So far, more than 100 amendments to the bill have been proposed. At the last reading, Senator Faria turned down many of them, leaving only 20 in place for his committee to take into consideration.
Since the former President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, lost the 2022 election, the Senate has been struggling to find overwhelming support for the piece of legislation. Mr. Bolsonaro was against the measure and had gathered support in the Senate.