Brazil launches final consultation on sports betting regulations


brazil-sports-betting-final-consultationBrazil’s would-be sports betting operators have one last chance to shape the country’s gambling rules before the regulations are carved in stone.

This week, Brazil’s Ministry of the Economy announced yet another public consultation on the government’s plans to regulate both land-based and online sports betting. Interested parties have only until September 27th to submit their reactions to the ministry’s new draft decree, which can be read in full here (in Portuguese).

The ministry’s previous consultation, which was launched in late-July, attracted 1,849 submissions, about one-third of which came from industry types. The draft decree is the result of the ministry’s interpretation of those submissions but apparently there were still a few areas of uncertainty before the ministry feels confident enough to come down from the mountaintop with the regulations on two stone tablets.

Here’s what we know so far: plans for a monopoly betting provider have apparently been scrapped in favor of a “competitive environment.” So far, so good. The decree also confirms that both land-based and online operators will pay 1% tax on their betting turnover, which the government previously estimated works out to around 6% of gross gaming revenue.

The draft decree contains no other information on fees and taxes, but the government has previously confirmed that licensees will pay an upfront fee of BRL3m (US$735k) plus monthly fees based on whether they choose to operate on land (BRL20k/$4,900), online (BRL30k) or both (BRL45k).

License applicants will also need to demonstrate a financial reserve of BRL6m ($1.5m) to ensure bettors will be paid should the ball not bounce the way bookmakers might hope. Applicants will also have to attest to the fact that they haven’t conducted business in any market in which the local government would have preferred otherwise.

All betting advertising must be accompanied by responsible gambling messaging, including on online operators’ home pages. Advertising can’t promise to make bettors richer, happier or irresistible to members of the opposite sex. Operators also can’t mock those who find gambling repulsive or make fun of Brazil’s “cultural beliefs or traditions.”

Operators who flout the rules could face financial penalties of up to 100% of their revenue, while recurrences will result in doubling of said penalties.

The legislation that was signed into law last December gave the government two years in which to craft its betting regulations, but the current plan is to have the final rules in place by this December ahead of a market launch by June 2020.

Operators have been salivating at the prospect of legally offering betting products to Brazil’s 212m residents, even if the government still hasn’t indicated a willingness to authorize online casino or poker activity. Land-based casino operators are also still waiting on the government’s plans for large-scale integrated resort licenses.

This week, veteran online betting operator BetCris signalled its interest in Brazil’s legions of bettors by announcing a three-year brand ambassador deal with football great Ronaldinho. The two-time recipient of FIFA’s World Player of the Year award has over 100m social media followers, all of whom will start learning more about BetCris when the deal formally kicks in on October 1.