Brazil is set to restrict applications for online gambling licences to just two specific windows per year, rather than allowing companies to apply on an ongoing basis, according to the reported comments of a key government official.
The application window for licences will be open twice a year for a period of several weeks each time, the prominent O Globo newspaper reported on Friday (January12) as part of an interview with José Francisco Manssur, special advisor to Brazil’s Ministry of Finance.
The first application period could start as soon as the beginning of February, according to Globo.
Manssur did not immediately respond to a request from Vixio GamblingCompliance to confirm or clarify the remarks.
But both the licensing window approach and a potential application period next month took several close observers of Brazil’s regulatory process by surprise, with companies not anticipating being ready to launch operations under a newly enacted federal law until at least June or July.
Law 14.790, as signed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on December 29, grants the finance ministry broad authority to establish the terms for how authorisations for sports betting and online gaming will be awarded, although Article 9 of the new law also seems to imply that operators should be able to request a licence at any time.
According to Globo, the terms of the licensing process will be laid out in one of three initial regulatory ordinances due to be published by the Ministry of Finance in the near future.
The other two ordinances will address testing and certification bodies, as well as formal rules for advertising and marketing. The latter of those will be expected to dovetail with new self-regulatory standards on betting advertising that were recently adopted by Brazilian ad council CONAR and which will become effective on January 31.
In total, the finance ministry expects to publish 12 specific sets of regulations through the course of this year, Manssur told Globo.
Ahead of the licensing and rulemaking process, Brazil took another initial step toward implementation last week when officials from the Ministry of Finance and the federal data processing service (Serpro) held a meeting with operators regarding a planned test period for a central monitoring system for online betting, as mandated by Article 33 of the new law.
Only companies that have formally expressed interest in a Brazilian licence will be eligible to participate in the testing process, which is designed to ensure effective data collection and integration and is set to run from February 19 through to April 5.
The monitoring system will enable the government to audit revenues and taxes, while the Ministry of Sport will also have access to data for the purposes of evaluating any potential suspicious betting patterns and distributing the portions of revenue owed to Brazilian sports entities.
Meanwhile, it will also be used to alert players to risks of problem gambling.
“We want to marry up the data across all the companies, for each player. If ‘José da Silva’, for example, is spending more than ten hours betting, we can log a case of potential addiction and debt,” Manssur told Globo.
The key finance ministry official also reaffirmed that forthcoming rules will specify the types of online casino games that will be permitted in Brazil’s regulatory market, with only games meeting the legal definition of a fixed-odds bet due to be allowed.
Aviator-based crash games, or “jogo do aviãozinho”, is one type of game that will not be permitted, according to Globo.