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Brazil Closes In On Legalizing Online Gaming, Sports Betting

Gambling Expansion Efforts Now Head To Brazilian Senate


Online casino gaming and sports betting may soon be coming to the land of samba and sun. Brazil’s lower house approved a bill legalizing online gaming last week and the issue now heads to the country’s Senate.

The upper house now has 45 days to approve the legislation, which President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is expected to sign into law.

Details On The Plan

Brazil offers a significant market for online gaming. The country has the 10th-largest economy in the world and a population of more than 214 million, but has been under a gambling ban since 1941. The only allowed forms of gambling in Brazil come in the form of horse racing and a state-run lottery.

Poker, however, is considered a game of skill and is therefore not illegal under current laws. Some major live and online poker winners have come out of Brazil in recent years and online poker operators have put a major focus on the country.

It looks as if legislators are now open to embracing even more gaming options. Plans call to tax online gaming revenue at 18%. However, the legislation has drawn criticism from gaming companies because that rate can rise as high as 34% when other taxes and fees are figured in.

Operators will face a licensing fee every three years of just over $6 million as well. The bill also puts in place advertising standards and anti-money laundering and corruption measures. Some promo offers that can be found in other countries won’t be in the mix in Brazil.

“The proposed law also bars operators from offering bonus bets to customers, even if done as part of a promotion,” notes. “The bill also prevents businesses from offering any credit lines to bettors.”

Sports Betting Measure Affirmed

Wagering on sports may flourish in soccer-mad Brazil. The country’s sports fans also enjoy volleyball, mixed martial arts, basketball, tennis, and motorsports, especially Formula One.

Regulated wagering was already legalized in July when da Silva instituted a provision measure (PM) allowed under Brazilian law. The PM affirmed 2018 legislation that wasn’t signed into law by previous president, Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Under the rules of the PM, the Brazilian Congress had 120 days to pass the legislation with the president then signing the bill to make it permanent.

Da Silva’s PM also helped establish a regulatory framework for betting in the country. The Ministry of Finance is charged with creating a new National Secretariat for Games and Betting (SNJA) to regulate the industry.

Minister of Finance Fernando Haddad hopes to keep more money in the country and instead of going to offshore sites.

“The (offshore sportsbooks) don’t pay any taxes and take a fortune of money from the country,” he told Brazilian news site UOL. “Online gambling is subject to taxes all over the world, it can’t be different in Brazil.

“There’s an absurd amount of (tax) evasion in the country — a lot of money (leaves the country). There’s no control because they’re not land-based casinos, they’re online casinos. (Our legislation) is about the taxation of online casinos, which exist and need to be regulated.”

*Photo by Pexels – Murilo Fonseca