Brazil Judge Orders Unlicensed Rio Operators To Account For Lack Of Authorisation

July 4, 2024
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A Brazilian court has ordered the National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) to ask sports betting and online casino operators not licensed by the Rio de Janeiro Lottery to account for their operations in the state.

A Brazilian court has ordered the National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) to ask sports betting and online casino operators not licensed by the Rio de Janeiro Lottery (Loterj) to account for their operations in the state.

Judge Pablo Zúñiga Dourado partially granted an appeal of a decision from the 13th Federal Civil Court by Loterj, which is demanding that 115 gambling platforms in Rio be outright blocked by ANATEL. 

The operators will not be blocked, the judge said, because the operators did not have the opportunity to defend themselves.

He instead wrote: “It is therefore up to ANATEL, as the regulatory agency for telecommunications services (Law 9.472/97, art. 8), to verify the operational legitimacy of the companies that operate fixed-odds lotteries, in relation to Loterj and, if negative, take the appropriate measures, within the limits of the State of Rio de Janeiro, to determine the suspension of sites that are in disagreement with the legislation.” 

Loterj has issued licences to Apostau RJ, Bestbet, MarjoSports, RioJogos and Pixbet, while Caesars Sportsbook, Key Solution Gaming of Bet, Laguna, PNR, Purple & Green and SDL Loterias are in the process of receiving a licence. 

Loterj offers licences for online sports betting and casino games for R$5m (US$883,000), a fraction of the R$30m (US$5.2m) required for the national licence.

The 115 companies on the list to be investigated include Betfair, bet365, 888 Parimatch and Rei do Pitaco, among others. 

Both the National Association of Games and Lotteries (ANJL) and the Institute of Responsible Gaming (IBJR) released retaliatory statements.

The ANJL wrote that “the injunction granted confirms the error in the Loterj procedure, as it prevents the blocking of websites, given that there was no adversarial process in the action". 

“Therefore, ANJL understands that all operators must be summoned … by Loterj before any order to take down the websites, thus enabling their full defence and adversarial process.”

The IBJR, for its part, said that “ANATEL, as the telecommunications regulatory agency, does not have the authority to verify the legitimacy of lottery operations”.

“The IBJR warns that Loterj’s positioning fosters legal uncertainty, harming the business environment in Brazil and threatening the effectiveness of the legal framework consolidated by Federal Law No. 14,790/2023.”

Rio de Janeiro has, in the past year, led the charge of states vying for their own licensing processes, despite the fact that it is not likely to last long under federal law. 

As reported by Vixio GamblingCompliance, the Ministry of Finance wrote to Loterj this spring to remind it that betting across state lines is illegal.

The governor of Rio de Janeiro, along with five other states, filed a petition with the Supreme Court in May contesting the parts of Law 14,790 that curb their freedoms.

They took issue with the specification that no company can have a licence from more than one state and that state-licensed operators must only advertise within that state.


         

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