Brazil Online Betting Law Affects Broader Gambling Expansion

January 12, 2024
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Now that the final cheers have sounded over the passage of Brazil's sports-betting and online gaming law after an arduous five-year battle, industry advocates are shifting focus to what the new legislation could mean for the passage of a larger gambling expansion bill down the line. 
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Now that the final cheers have sounded over the passage of Brazil's sports-betting and online gaming law after an arduous five-year battle, industry advocates are shifting focus to what the new legislation could mean for the passage of a larger gambling expansion bill down the line.

Bill 442/91 (currently numbered as PL 2234/22), which would legalise land-based casinos and bingo operators, the popular Brazilian game jogo do bicho and other forms of gambling that were not addressed in the new law, has been loitering in Congress for the better part of 30 years in some form. 

Conventional wisdom is now that it is closer than ever to being approved, thanks to the ratification of a legal structure for sports betting and online casino gaming.

Udo Seckelmann, head of the gambling and cryptocurrency practice at Brazilian law firm Bichara & Motta, told Vixio GamblingCompliance that the passage of sports betting provides natural pressure for Brazilian lawmakers to also pass Bill 442/1991.

The measure was approved by the lower house of Congress in February 2022, but has since gathered dust in Brazil's Senate.

Still, Seckleman also pointed out the potential for an unnecessarily complex licensing system if and when the land-based gaming bill is approved, with separate licences for sports betting and online gaming, land-based casino games and jogo do bicho.  

Another area that may need to be addressed through additional legislation is the definitions of sports betting and online gaming events in the new law, as he said that the government made a mistake with its vague definition of online gaming. 

The law will allow fixed-odds bets strictly on real sporting events, as well as on “virtual online gaming events” or certain types of casino games, but not on non-sporting events.

Seckelmann pointed out that when he polled people, most believed that it would now be legal for them to bet on the ever popular Brazilian franchise of Big Brother (BBB). They are, however, wrong.

“In fact, due to regulations, this could be the last BBB with betting available at bet365 and any other bookmaker operating legally in Brazil. Which is a joke, as after all, online casinos are allowed and real events like BBB aren't.”

Implementing regulations from Brazil's Ministry of Finance regarding online gambling are set to be centre stage over the coming months, but the possibility of action on land-based gaming via Bill 442/1991 means attention will still be paid to events in the National Congress in Brasilia.

Rafael Marchetti Marcondes, the legal director of fantasy sports operator Rei do Pitaco, said he expected “some movements from the bill in this first semester of 2024”.

“We can even think about an approval of the text in the Senate,” he said.

After months of inactivity, Bill 442/1991 was twice on the agenda of the Senate’s Committee of Constitution, Citizenry and Justice in December. The bill has also been assigned a rapporteur, who has recommended the bill be approved with only one technical amendment from the version that was approved by the lower house. 

However, a report on the bill has not yet been read before the committee, a necessity in Brazilian legislation.

Marchetti Marcondes said that the text will also now need adjustments as the sports-betting law has since been passed. 

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