Did Brazil’s interim president just propose an online sports betting monopoly?

brazil-president-temer-online-sports-betting-monopolyBrazil’s interim president plans to form a state-run online sports betting company that will eventually be privatized along with the country’s instant lottery business.

For years now, Brazil has been attempting to pass legislation that would authorize brick-and-mortar casinos, video bingo terminals, the jogo do bicho numbers game and online sports betting and casino sites. However, legislators have so far failed to turn these attempts into actual laws.

An already overdue gambling vote was scheduled for last Wednesday but was delayed at the last minute because pro-gaming legislators weren’t sure that they had the necessary votes. Another vote was scheduled for Tuesday, but some reports have the vote now being delayed until August in order to craft a bill that a majority can support. (One legislative draft making the rounds would ban online gambling altogether, so perhaps a delay is a good thing.)

On Tuesday, local media outlet Folha de S. Paulo reported that interim president Michel Temer (pictured) wants to create a state-run online sports betting company that will look to partner with an experienced international operator. The government would hold a minority stake in the company.

The report appears to suggest that Temer is proposing an online sports betting monopoly, while recent drafts of the online bills wading through the legislature carried the promise that an unspecified number of online licenses would be issued. Of course, that lack of specificity does include the possibility of a single license.

Temer’s economic team is reportedly convinced that the sale of the online gambling concession could earn the government over BRL 4b (US $1.2b), a staggering sum for any one operator to fork over, although the team suggested the duration of the concession could last as long as 10 to 20 years, with the price rising in tandem with the duration.

Terner’s team also wants the government to press ahead with plans to privatize Lotex, the instant lottery scratch card business of the state-run Caixa Economica Federal bank. The process was begun under recently ousted President Dilma Rouseff but Terner’s team wants to see it through. Here again, the expectation is that the privatization will earn the government BRL 4b.