Another promised deadline for the introduction of a so-called provisional measure to regulate sports betting in Brazil has now come and gone, with the congressional recess meaning that the industry is unlikely to see legislation until at least mid-August.
After having its draft provisional measure sidelined in May amid pushback by speaker Arthur Lira and the Chamber of Deputies, the Ministry of Finance lobbied successfully in favour of using that legislative vehicle to implement a licensing regime for sports wagering.
The government promised that officials would publish a regulatory measure before a congressional recess that began on July 17 and is set to last until mid-August. However, that date has now come and gone without the emergence of a provisional measure or any other legislative effort to get regulated sports betting off the ground.
The provisional measure is meant to address taxation and administrative penalties for sports wagering, while an accompanying bill would address licensing, integrity and most likely match-fixing. That bill might not come until after the conclusion of an ongoing parliamentary investigation (CPI) into a high-profile betting integrity scandal, which is not set to end until at least September.
Rafael Marchetti Marcondes, legal director of fantasy sports operator Rei do Pitaco, said of the passing deadline: “Nothing has been said yet. The President is travelling, I don’t think we may have any news before August.”
Luiz Felipe Maia, lawyer and founding partner at Maia Yoshiyasu, was more critical of the ongoing delays: “They keep saying in advance that they will publish in the following days and it's been like this forever. It’s very frustrating.”
The provisional measure is meant to regulate the sports-betting law that was enacted in December 2018 by then President Michel Temer.
Implementation has moved at glacial pace since then, with the former government in December missing a statutory deadline to act within four years of the law's approval.
After the election of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, it was thought that the publication would be forthcoming. However, a draft provisional measure leaked in May was stalled by Arthur Lira, one of the most powerful men in Brazilian politics, after a draft had already been circulated to the press and its formal publication was expected within days.
Meanwhile, local governments continue to regulate while the federal delays continue.
The state of Parana is in the process of following Rio de Janeiro in issuing local accreditations for sports-betting operators, capitalising on a 2020 Supreme Court decision that grants state and municipal governments equal rights as the federal government to operate or regulate approved lottery games.
The latest to announce the creation of a local lottery operation is the city of Belo Horizonte, home to 2.7m Brazilians. Mayor Fuad Noman published his approval of a local law in the city's official gazette at the weekend.
The law provides for the possibility of partnership with the government in the operation of lottery games, and allows for online sales.