Bolsonaro veto expected for proposed gambling regulation in Brazil

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has revealed in an interview with news outlet Veja that he has been in touch with government officials in regards to proposed gambling legislation, but warned that he will not allow the market to be regulated, according to a report shared by BNL Data.

Bolsonaro admitted that “the measure will not count with the support of the Government to be approved in Congress. And if it moves forward, I will veto the proposal”.

The statements have raised concerns among supporters of the Brazilian government who are promoting the regulation of the industry, such as the Chief of Staff Ciro Nogueira.

Earlier this month, the President of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil Arthur Lira created a task force specialized in gambling legislation, which would include casinos, sports betting, bingo halls, online gambling and jogo do bicho, among others.

Consequently, a regulatory proposal that is being held back by the Michel Temer government would gain momentum. Originally, it was intended to obtain approval from the Deputies before 2022, but Bolsonaro highlighted that “at this time, this is my opinion about gambling”.

He added: “Right now, gambling represents loss rather than winnings. If, by any chance, the regulation is approved, I have the chance to veto it. The Congress can override the veto, but what is being discussed right now will end up with me vetoing it. Period.”

The statements come after a public hearing in the Chamber of Deputies that took place last week, where the President of the Instituto do Jogo Legal (IJL) Magno José – also editor of BNL Data – started his speech by assuring that “gambling in Brazil exists and is rooted in our culture”.

He said: “In Brazil, as we do not have a legal gambling [framework], we also don’t have a public policy to deal with problem gambling, something that bookmakers don’t want to create. That’s why it’s so important to include the subject in the project that is being re-evaluated.”

The expert also reported that the overall gambling industry in Brazil is worth around $13bn, while unregulated gambling represents $5bn of the total and sports betting, not yet regulated despite being authorized, generates approximately $1.8bn.

Under this framework, the regulation would not only formalize at least 450k jobs, but would also generate 200k new ones. The state could collect $3.7bn in taxes and $1.3bn with contributions from casinos, bingo halls, slots and online gambling.