Brazil’s senate scrap gambling vote, likely until next year

TAGs: Brazil, winfil

brazil-gambling-legislation-delayedClearly, God, or maybe just that giant statue of Christ the Redeemer that hovers over Rio de Janeiro, does not want Brazilians to have legal gambling options.

Wednesday’s scheduled vote on the Brazilian Senate’s oft-delayed PLS 186/2014 gambling legislation by the Constitutionality and Justice Committee (CCJ) was abandoned shortly after the CCJ began its weekly meeting due to legislators being summoned to an urgent plenary session of Congress.

For the record, this marks the third straight week that the CCJ scheduled a vote on PLS 186/2014 without actually taking a vote. There’s a small chance that the CCJ could discuss the bill at a possible hearing next Wednesday (20), but according to Games Magazine Brazil, CCJ president and Senator Edson Loboão didn’t leave much hope of that happening when he wished all those present a Merry Christmas before leaving the room.

PLS 186/2014 would authorize a massive expansion of Brazil’s legal gambling options, including land-based casinos, online sports betting and casino games, and the jogo do bicho ‘animal game’ lottery. Similarly delayed gambling legislation in the Chamber of Deputies (PL 442/1991) appears equally unlikely to make any further progress until 2018.

Meanwhile, attorneys representing Grupo Pefaco’s Winfil casino in Porto Alegre have responded to Monday’s raid by Civil Police, who confiscated 96 of the property’s slot machines, while disabling the other 360-odd machines and seizing an unspecified amount of cash.

Winfil opened in mid-October with its 460 slots operating in ‘demonstration’ mode due to casino gambling’s illegality, but switched to real-money gambling two weeks later after a local court issued a preliminary injunction barring local authorities from seizing Winfil’s slots. Winfil was raided on October 30 but re-opened shortly thereafter, leading to Monday’s followup raid.

On Tuesday, Winfil’s lawyers petitioned the Federal Supreme Court to take up its case, citing not only their clients’ personal stake in the matter but also the general public’s interest in ensuring that the police are required to observe court injunctions.

The attorneys go on to say that Brazil is (we’re paraphrasing here) a festering swamp of violent criminality and that perhaps local police would be better served combatting serious criminals rather than harassing “a segment that could be generating employment and income, revitalizing the market and free initiative, whose obligations and rights are in line with constitutional principles.”


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