Brazil Senate Set To Vote On Betting Bill

November 28, 2023
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Brazil’s sports betting and online gaming Bill PL 3626/23 is getting the fast-track treatment, with a final Senate vote scheduled for tomorrow despite the fact that many senators will be away at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai. 
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Brazil’s sports betting and online gaming Bill PL 3626/23 is getting the fast-track treatment, with a final Senate vote scheduled for tomorrow (November 29) despite the fact that many senators will be away at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai. 

It was initially believed that despite having an urgency clause reattached to it last week by a Senate committee, the sports-betting bill would not be voted on by the full Senate until next week to allow attendance by all 81 senators.

PL 3626/2023 is the second item on the Senate's voting agenda for Wednesday's plenary session starting at 2pm local time in Brasilia, according to an agenda published on Monday.

Luiz Felipe Maia, a Brazilian gambling law expert and founding partner of Maia Yoshiyasu law firm, said scheduling the vote for this week was reason for concern because although all of the senators can technically vote from abroad, the question is if they would do so in the midst of a busy travel schedule. 

There is, therefore, concern about whether the bill to regulate sports betting and online gaming will pass through the plenary, as most of the senators due to travel to the COP28 conference are supportive of the bill, while the most vocal opponents are all staying behind. 

“We are doing some counting to see if this potential path is weak or not,” said Maia of the Wednesday vote.

“It’s in the government’s interest that this is approved so if they see that this vote counting ends up showing that this is not going to be approved, it’s likely that it’s going to be postponed until next week.”

A postponement would be ordered by Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco, who is known to be supportive of the legalization of sports betting as well as other forms of gaming in Brazil.

Rafael Marchetti Marcondes, the legal director of fantasy sports operator Rei do Pitaco, relayed that many senators have changed their plans due to the vote, “including postponing their flights to Dubai”. 

The bill was passed through the Senate’s economic affairs committee (CAE) last week, having earlier been approved in a different form by the Senate committee on sports.

Fixed-odds bets on online casino games made it into the final version approved by the CAE, despite being eliminated by the sports committee. 

A group of four senators made a last-minute bid to vote on an amendment that would disallow online casino games, but the manoeuvre ultimately failed.

The same senators have since presented further amendments to be reconsidered on the Senate floor to ban online casino games and severely restrict betting advertising.

Those amendments indicate that the bill will need all hands on deck and present to make it through in its current iteration, although observers are optimistic that there are enough votes to retain online casino in the bill based on last week's approval by the CAE.

If the bill is passed by the Senate plenary, it will still need another stamp of approval from the Chamber of Deputies in order to approve or reject any Senate amendments. Finally, the bill would then go to the desk of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who could either sign the measure into law or choose to veto specific provisions within the legislation.

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