Brazilian executives have told the industry it can reasonably expect regulations for sports betting soon after the presidential election is over on October 30.
Brazil is under close watch across the global gambling industry, with a 2018 law for sports betting awaiting implementation through a regulatory decree and a much broader law for other forms of land-based and online gaming having passed one house of Congress in February this year.
Roberto Regianini, CEO of FBM Digital Systems, an online casino provider, told assembled delegates at the SBC Summit Barcelona this week he believes that Brazilians “have never been closer to having something solid, which is going to give opportunity to players from different segments of the gaming industry”.
It was emphasised that not only should Brazil regulate for the sake of its economy, but it is obliged to do so at least for sports betting, as the four-year deadline to regulate the 2018 will be up in December. That said, there is no penalty for the government should that deadline pass.
Andreas Bardun, CEO of KTO Group, which runs an online gaming and platform in Brazil, described the Brazilian market as “massive”.
“Imagine how many jobs you can create in customer support, in casinos, in payments; it’s a massive industry,” Bardun said.
“And the biggest benefit Brazil can get from that, outside obviously the taxes, is all the ancillary services that come with the regulation, so I think it's most likely the sports-betting law will be signed up after the election.”
When pressed in jest to “bet” on when regulation of sports betting would happen, Bardun said that it would be a few weeks after the election. He elaborated that the initial stage of regulation would take 120 days and then another six months to ratify, estimating that October or November 2023 would be the first licensing month.
FBM’s Regianini, who hedged that he was only sharing a personal opinion, commented that regulation would probably not come until the weeks following Carnaval in February, as Brazil would likely suffer a “political hangover” from the elections.
The outcome of the election should, the panel hoped, not affect whether or not gambling will be regulated.
According to EstrelaBet chief operating officer Fellipe Fraga, incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro would have already signed off on a regulatory decree for sports betting if he had not faced pressure from his evangelical supporters, who said it could lose him political capital heading into the election.
As for Bolsonaro’s chief rival in the polls, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, Fraga said: “There’s a good possibility that Lula will not be a threat for us. If Lula wins as the polls are saying he probably will, we will have this market because Brazil needs new jobs and in a new government this will be good.”
Nothing is ever certain when it comes to Brazil, however.
As Fraga noted: “Brazil has some particularities. There’s an expression in Brazil that the country is a ‘jaboticaba’. That’s a kind of fruit that only exists in Brazil and that’s why we say some things in Brazil go in unique ways.”