A Brazilian lawmaker has presented a bill in the Chamber of Deputies that would outlaw payment intermediaries from functioning on sites that host illegal gambling and child pornography.
Deputy Gildenemir de Lima Sousa, better known as Pastor Gil, is a member of the right wing Liberal Party, which forms President Bolsonaro's support base. As his pseudonym suggests, he is a high-ranking pastor in the evangelical Assembly of God church.
When presenting the bill, Pastor Gil commented: “We all know the difficulty of stopping these activities. Even though they are prohibited in the country, some sites simply continue to operate outside the law or, what happens more frequently, they offer their services hosted in another country with more permissive legislation.”
According to the text of the bill, enforcement would be up to the central bank, while “the National Monetary Council shall determine rules for the implementation of control mechanisms aimed at preventing financial institutions issuing credit or debit cards, as well as any other payment institution, from authorising transactions with credit or debit cards or electronic currency via the internet for the purpose of ….” and goes on to make explicit mention of sites with pornographic materials featuring minors, gambling sites and no others.
According to Luiz Felipe Maia, a gambling lawyer and partner at Maia Yoshiyasu, such a law would be nearly impossible to enforce.
“I think this is another attempt to do something that cannot be done by law because it's impossible to prohibit these kinds of international payments,” he said.
“It's completely useless because you can prohibit payment transactions to gaming companies, but you cannot prohibit transfer of funds to international e-wallets. So all the players would have to do is find a wallet in Cyprus or in London or what have you, and they can use that wallet to play online. So it's completely useless. And I think it's very unlikely that it [the bill] will go forward.”
Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party has been instrumental in the delay to regulating gambling in the country.
It was hoped that at least sports betting would be regulated in time for the FIFA World Cup in November, but it is now all but certain that any legislation will be postponed until after the presidential election in October, when incumbent Bolsonaro will face ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
At a rally in May, the President told his supporters: “We have one God, one Lord. We are against drug liberalisation and against gambling in Brazil."