Arthur Lira, the president of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, has suspended all congressional activity to vote on tax reform and a new fiscal framework, throwing into question the July 17 deadline cited by the Ministry of Finance for the publication of a provisional measure to regulate sports betting.
Although the provisional measure to implement sports betting does not fall into the category of the suspended activities, which include parliamentary investigations and other informal sessions and formal sessions, it could still be affected by the newly streamlined focus.
“Theoretically they can,” said Brazilian lawyer Luiz Felipe Maia of publishing the provisional measure before the congressional recess beginning on July 17. “As long as they get the green light for the positions from the minister of internal administration, and as long as they get the green light from Lira saying okay, you can do that. Otherwise, they will not do it.”
The positions Maia is referring to would be a part of the proposed Secretariat for Betting and Lotteries, which would be an undersecretariat within the Ministry of Finance.
“The publication depends on the creation of the regulatory body and the negotiation of appointments with the Congress,” Maia explained.
The creation of the secretariat requires negotiations of all new positions with the internal administration and the ministry; they will be appointed by Lira.
If it seems like the publication date of the provisional measure for sports betting is a moving target, there is a reason for that, according to Maia.
“[Jose Francisco] Manssur, [special advisor to the Ministry of Finance and chief architect of the provisional measure], is always saying that he will publish next week, he will publish next week, he will publish by the 17th because this is a way to create pressure to maintain a sense of urgency and an expectation from the markets,” he said.
The potential delay is not all doom and gloom for the regulated industry, however, as Lira’s insistence on voting on the fiscal framework is a positive sign for President Lula’s agenda in general.
In the recent past, Lula and Lira have been at odds, including over whether sports betting should be implemented through a provisional measure, a regular bill of law or a combination of the two as is currently expected.
Brazil's Congress, led by Lira, is more powerful than the last time Lula held office, and it is widely held that Lula cannot successfully implement his wider policy agenda without the cooperation of Lira and his Senate counterpart.