Brazil Wants 'Liberal', 'US Style' Sports-Betting Rules, Says Minister

June 30, 2022
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​​​​​​​Brazil’s secretary of competition has said the country is seeking an “American model” of sports-betting regulation, but could offer no clues on a timeline for the stalled implementation decree.

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Brazil’s secretary of competition has said the country is seeking an “American model” of sports-betting regulation, but could offer no clues on a timeline for the stalled implementation decree.

The hot topic at the Brazilian iGaming Summit in Sao Paulo, which runs from June 28-30, is the regulation of sports betting.

Various industry executives have gathered to give their thoughts on what is most important for the pending regulation and the country’s secretary of competition and competitiveness advocacy, Geanluca Lorenzon, opened the summit by revealing that any sports betting will take after the approach of various US states.

Lorenzon was evasive about an exact timeline for approval of the decree that will activate the regulated sports-betting market, but in his opening remarks assured the audience that it would be coming, asking for patience.

"I don't know if I can say that we expect it to come out in the next days, weeks or months,” he said, adding that Brazil was interested in an “American model” of regulation of sports betting.

“We are a liberal government and this has to be reflected in the regulation and in our actions. We want to deliver market efficiency, with as few restrictions as possible,” Lorenzon said of Bolsonaro’s notoriously socially conservative government, which is largely based on the President’s evangelical faith.

Bolsonaro recently consulted his evangelical support when deciding to block any movement on the sports-betting decree before the election.

Lorenzon said that as Brazil wishes to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and it is cognisant that its regulation of sports betting “conforms to world practices like those adopted in other countries that have regulated the sector”.

Brazil is not currently one of the 37 member nations of the OECD, but has a working relationship with the organisation. Its accession process in 2017 for full membership status has stalled due to various political machinations.

Lorenzon again emphasised a free market, reiterating that “we need to start with the minimum regulation necessary to see how the market will go and from there, enhance additional regulations”.

Brazil’s draft regulatory decree for sports betting indicates that companies will have to pay an unprecedented $4.4m licensing fee in addition to setting up a Brazilian subsidiary.

Elsewhere at the conference, gambling executives gathered for a panel to discuss what sort of regulation they would like to see whenever sports betting finally goes live.

The overwhelming conclusion: they simply want to see regulation, period.

Betsson’s André Gelfi called the current market “fertile ground for manipulation” and reiterated the point he has made in the past that the best market is one that is regulated.

Michael Luiz Rabelo of SERPRO, which provides public sector technological infrastructure in Brazil, called for transparency.

“The best scenario of all is to understand that the very moment that it is regulated is the moment that it can be changed. Both market and government need to be agile to take advantage of this scenario and meet the necessary changes.”

Despite these calls for regulation, Lorenzon would only reveal that “more details will come very soon regarding the publication of the presidential decree”.

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