Brazil’s president vetoes sports betting law, approves new gambling fines

brazil-sports-betting-law-veto-rousseffBrazil’s president has vetoed legislation that would have authorized legal sports betting.

Last month, Brazil’s senate approved its 671/2015 legislation, aka the MP Football bill due to segments intended to boost funding for the country’s football teams. The bill contained provisions for the creation of two new lotteries, including the country’s first legal fixed-odds sports betting products.

Last Wednesday, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff signed the bill into law, but not before vetoing 36 of its clauses, including the fixed-odds section. The veto is theoretically subject to an override, although it’s unclear whether a sufficient number of legislators would support such a move.

In a message to the country’s parliamentarians, Rouseff justified this veto by saying the creation of this betting product “would require a more comprehensive regulation, to ensure greater legal and economic security to the sport, adequate levels of fraud control and tax evasion.’ Rouseff also cited the bill’s lack of mechanisms “to prevent possible social impact.”

Adding injury to insult, Rousseff did approve an amendment to existing laws that will impose stiff fines on citizens caught in the act of gambling in a public place. The law, which applies to both casino gambling and mobile wagering with internationally licensed online gambling operators, imposes fines ranging from R2k (US $575) to R200k.

It remains to be seen how many of the country’s estimated 8m online punters will be deterred from visiting international sites by the new fines. Brazil is by far South America’s largest gambling market and eager international operators have been urging the country to join the 21st century. But for the moment, the country’s legal gambling options will remain limited to horseracing and lotteries.