Brazil's First Licensing Window To Open In March

February 7, 2024
José Francisco Manssur, who is tipped to become Brazil’s chief gambling regulator, has revealed that the first licensing window for online betting will be open from March to June.

José Francisco Manssur, who is tipped to become Brazil’s chief gambling regulator, has revealed that the first licensing window for online betting will be open from March to June.

Speaking to a gathered audience of industry executives at ICE on Tuesday (February 7), Manssur vowed that the Ministry of Finance, where he is currently a special advisor, is on a hiring spree to make sure that officials can get through all the applications that they expect in the first window. 

The 134 companies that last year submitted a formal expression of interest in a licence will have priority in the assessment process, but “every operator that presents his application will be analysed”, Manssur, who is widely expected to be appointed as the head of Brazil's new Prizes and Betting Secretariat, told Vixio GamblingCompliance. 

VaideBet, a previously little-known operator which made a huge splash last month when it signed a record-breaking sponsorship deal with Brazilian football team Corinthians, is one operator that did not register its interest but clearly intends to participate in the market. Its application will be assessed after the 134 companies that submitted their paperwork.

A second registration window will open from October to December and then a third registration window at a later, unspecified time, according to Manssur.

“In the first window, operators will be able to present their qualifications every day while it is open; however, the list of authorised people will come out at once. In the second window, we will start publishing as authorisations are granted,” Manssur revealed. 

He told the audience that when the first window closes, “companies that are not authorised by the Ministry of Finance will not be able to operate sports betting and online gambling”. That means operators applying during the second window will have to leave the market until they are approved. 

Manssur said that the Ministry of Finance has 12 regulatory ordinances to implement December's Law 14.790 in the pipeline and that the first will address the approval of independent testing laboratories that will certify operators’ platforms.

More than 12 ordinances may ultimately be required to address the long list of pending policy issues that have yet to be resolved, however.

As highlighted by Vixio's Brazil Online Outlook report published this week, arguably the most pressing matter is which types of online casino games will be permitted under a law that was initially designed to regulate only sports betting.

“They have to define what is going to be fixed-odds or not and this is going to be very challenging,” said Rafael Marchetti Marcondes, chief legal officer for fantasy sports operator Rei do Pitaco and legal director for Brazilian betting association IBJR.

Luiz Felipe Maia, the founding partner of Maia Yoshiyasu law firm, added that defining esports, deciding what types of bonuses may be permitted and interpreting a legal requirement for a Brazilian to own at least 20 percent of any operator were also issues on the growing list. 

Despite the unresolved issues, delays are not necessarily expected as the government is clearly motivated by the tax dollars a regulated industry will bring in.

“The taxes that will come from the beginning of the operation, with collection, the Brazilian government is already starting to sleep a little easier at night,” Manssur said.

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