Brazil Betting Integrity Association Launches As Regulation Draws Near

March 8, 2023
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A group of betting and fantasy sports companies is set to launch Brazil’s first sports integrity association, in a move that comes as the government prepares to establish a regulatory regime for online betting and lawmakers prepare to probe a recent match-fixing scandal.

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A group of betting and fantasy sports companies is set to launch Brazil’s first sports integrity association, in a move that comes as the government prepares to establish a regulatory regime for online betting and lawmakers prepare to probe a recent match-fixing scandal.

The Brazilian Association for Defending the Integrity of Sport, or ABRADIE, is set to be formally announced as soon as today (March 8) by founding members Entain, Genius Sports and Brazilian daily fantasy sports operator Rei do Pitaco.

Brazilian law firms Maia Yoshiyasu Advogados and Bichara e Motta are also expected to be part of the non-profit association, which aims to bring together representatives of the betting industry, law enforcement, sports governing bodies and other stakeholders to address issues of betting-related fraud, including match-fixing.

The new association is being formed as Brazilian sports betting finds itself at a critical juncture.

The country is currently home to a booming unregulated offshore market, but government ministers have confirmed that they intend to belatedly introduce regulations in the near future to finally implement a federal law that was enacted in December 2018.

A forthcoming presidential emergency decree to regulate sports betting is set to be accompanied by several regulatory ordinances, including one directly addressing match-fixing and betting integrity, according to a March 3 report in the prominent O Globo newspaper.

An initial endeavour of the Brazilian sports integrity association will be to deliver a report to the government with recommendations on sports and betting integrity policies that could be adopted in Brazil, including monitoring and reporting of suspicious betting patterns. The group also plans to share a similar action plan on responsible gaming and consumer protections.

Bichara e Motta partner Marco Motta said the association’s focus “is to protect the integrity of sport in Brazil and to assist the government, the Congress and sports entities to apply the best international practices to our upcoming Brazilian sports betting regulation”.

Luiz Felipe Maia of fellow founding member Maia Yoshiyasu law firm added that the association was “being created at a critical time, when the Brazilian market is growing rapidly and finalising its regulation”.

“Safeguarding the integrity of sports is paramount for the sports-betting industry and the ABRADIE membership will demonstrate their commitment to industry best practices, supporting the government, sports bodies and other stakeholders in protecting sports from the threats of betting related corruption,” Maia said.

Entain has long been understood to be one of the largest operators in Brazil’s unregulated sports-betting market via its popular Sportingbet and Betboo brands, while sports data and integrity services provider Genius Sports is already the official integrity partner of the Brazilian National Basketball League and Brazilian Volleyball Confederation.

Rei do Pitaco has quickly become one of the leading fantasy sports operators in Brazil and recently announced an agreement to partner with Kambi to offer online sports betting, once regulation allows.

Other members are also expected to join the association in future.

After a long delay, the Brazilian government’s apparent urgency to regulate sports betting is being driven at least in part by a high-profile betting-related corruption scandal involving at least six teams in the second division of the Brasileirão football league.

Prosecutors in Goiás state last month announced their “Maximum Penalty” investigation into alleged approaches made to several players who were offered money in return for ensuring that a penalty would be awarded in the first half of three specific games.

The scandal has led to one federal deputy filing a resolution to establish a formal parliamentary investigations commission on sports betting in the lower house of Brazil’s Congress.

The proposal by Deputy Felipe Carreras needs the signatures of 171 members and reportedly already has the support of almost 100 lawmakers, including Chamber President Arthur Lira.

Carreras told O Globo that manipulation of Brazilian football games was “ever more apparent” and that Brazil was “not immune” from the kinds of scandals reported in the past in Europe.

The lawmaker from Pernambuco state, who served as the rapporteur of a sweeping expanded gambling bill approved by the Chamber of Deputies last year and is expected to play a similar role for the forthcoming sports-betting regulatory decree, also has filed a proposal to establish a formal parliamentary group for the defence of Brazilian sport.

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