Brazil Senate committee okays gambling bill


brazil-senate-gambling-legislationBrazil’s online gambling law is one step closer to reality following a favorable vote by a Senate committee.

On Wednesday, the Senate’s Special Committee on National Development approved the text of the 186/2014 legislation, which aims to set up a legal structure that would permit sports betting, “electronic bets,” land-based casinos, bingo halls, horseracing and the popular but currently illegal ‘jogo do bicho’ animal game lottery.

The bill will now face a vote by the full Senate at some as yet to be determined date. If approved, it will be sent to the lower house Chamber of Deputies, which on Wednesday was supposed to hold a debate on its own gaming bill 442/1991 but this session was canceled due to a lack of a quorum. The next scheduled Chamber sessions are on November 16 and 17.

While the latest draft of 186/2014 still doesn’t specify exactly what forms of online gambling will be permitted, it does specify that national lottery operator Caixa Economica Federal and its subsidiaries would have exclusive right to offer online sports betting.

The Brazilian government is expected to hold a tender to select a single operator to provide online betting technology for Caixa, but as it stands, it appears that the much anticipated Brazilian online gold rush won’t materialize for other international online operators. At least, not until Brazil realizes that its monopoly is being ignored in favor of more competitive offers available via internationally licensed sites.

While the Chamber of Deputies’ 442/1991 bill clearly allows for both online sports and race betting, it is similarly vague on what other types of “electronic bets” might be allowed, saying only that it encompasses all gambling activities offered through electronic channels. However, online bingo would be the sole responsibility of land-based bingo licensees.

Earlier drafts of the 186/2014 legislation allowed for the construction of up to 35 brick-and-mortar casinos while the current draft doesn’t specify a hard number of allowable venues, although it does specify that at least 40% of casinos be built in the North, Northeast and Central regions to give these areas an economic boost.