The ongoing debate over the likelihood of Brazil having a legal gambling sector continues to roll on following the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro as the country’s president. Initially thought to be against the possibility of gaming in the country, he had hinted during his election campaign that the decision to introduce legal gambling could be an issue for individual states to decide.
Currently, Brazil’s aspirations to have gambling have stagnated. Two bills calling for reforms that would include the introduction of bingo halls, casinos, sports betting and online gaming have stalled having failed to win support from policy makers.
But there is pressure on Bolsanaro and his new administration to turn around Brazil’s ailing economic health. The country’s stock market and currency have been flying high since September, yet it is one of the most closed economies in the world. To compound matters, the industries that supported Bolsanaro’s path to the presidency will not welcome growth in international competition, raised taxes or the removal of government subsidies.
A source close to the political situation in Brazil, suggested that there is likely to be a line drawn between land-based and online gaming. On whether or not gambling will be legalized, he said the jury is still out. But if it does happen, there will likely be a differentiation between online sports betting and physical casinos/bingo.
On the introduction of online gambling and sports betting, he told SBC Americas: “Sports betting is being evaluated independently via the finance ministry and this will be the purview of Paulo Guedes (chosen by Bolsonaro to lead the economy). Brazil needs revenue and this is a guaranteed source, with next to no investment required on behalf of the state.
“Casinos have a long lag and slots have a bad reputation from back when the wife would send the husband to the bakery with the last dollar and he would blow it in the VLT. Ciro Nogueira, the author of the senate gaming bill, may be the president of the senate so we will see how this all shakes out.”