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Brazil's New Administration Slowly Taking Shape

January 17, 2023
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s appointees continue to be selected during the first weeks of his administration, with nominees relevant to the gambling industry ranging from supporters to opponents of legal gaming, but critical positions are still to be filled.

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Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s appointees continue to be selected during the first weeks of his administration, with nominees relevant to the gambling industry ranging from supporters to opponents of legal gaming, but critical positions are still to be filled.

Onlookers have been trying to divine what the views of each new presidential appointee will mean for the future of gambling, even before Lula was elected at the end of October.

Although some events, such as the appointment of Simone Tebet to a prominent position, were expected, other complications, like the January 8 post-election riots that left government buildings damaged in the capital of Brasilia, were decidedly less so.

On January 10, the arrest of Anderson Torres, a member of Caixa Econômica Federal supervisory board, was ordered by the Federal Supreme Court for his involvement in the violence on January 8. He was appointed to Caixa, the public bank that operates Brazil's national lottery, in April 2022 for a two-year term.

Torres previously served as former President Jair Bolsonaro’s justice minister and was appointed the secretary of public security for the federal district just before January 8, when vandals swarmed the presidential compound and Congress, while he was abroad in the United States.

His resignation was officially requested by Lula’s administration, as confirmed by the Brazilian paper Folha de São Paulo.

On Thursday (January 12), police found a draft of a decree from Bolsonaro outlining a plan to take over the Superior Electoral Court and reverse the election results at Torres’ former official residence.

Meanwhile, Lula’s new planning minister, Simone Tebet, once voted against gambling expansion Bill 186/2014 while serving as a member of the Federal Senate. A centrist, Tebet was crucial to Lula’s re-election campaign, throwing her support behind him in the second round of the election after she failed to make it past the first round of the election herself.

Tebet will have little to do with gambling outside her appointment of Gustavo Guimarães as her executive secretary last week. He was a regulator who formerly held the position of secretary of evaluation, planning, energy and lotteries.

Most other positions that are relevant to gambling regulation and the approval process for regulations for sports betting, such as the undersecretary of lotteries and sports betting, still remain vacant.

Luiz Felipe Maia of São Paulo-based law firm Maia Yoshiyasu said that although presidential appointments are expected usually by the end of January, the riots on January 8 could very well delay that process.

“We usually say that in Brasilia, the year starts after Carnaval,” said Maia, referring to the February festivities that celebrate the run-up to Lent, which this year will end on February 22.

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