Brazil misses sports betting deadline as Bolsonaro refuses to regulate industry

Despite high hopes around Brazil sports betting, President Bolsonaro has refused to sign the bill that would have regulated the industry.
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Despite the high hopes around Brazil’s sports betting market, the country has once again drifted away from having firm regulation as Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro refused to sign the bill that would have paved the way for a multi-billion dollar industry.

As specified in a 2018 decree signed by former President Michel Temer, Brazil initially had two years to come up with a regulation, with the possibility of a further two-year extension period, with a final approval date of December 12, 2022.

Despite multiple reports indicating that Congress was considering a deadline extension, Bolsonaro stayed true to his words and did not sign the bill into law.

As a result, if Brazil wants to regulate the sports betting market, Congress will be forced to face this issue once again in 2023, but with Lula da Silva as its new President.

Lula, who will start his third mandate on January 1, has repeatedly said that he would respect Congress’ decision if a bill ends up with a positive vote.

However, the Evangelical groups in Congress are likely to ramp up their efforts to avoid voting on the matter and, eventually, passing the legislation.

Bolsonaro’s real reasons to reject sports betting

The conservative President had previously said that he would be okay with sports betting regulation, but not with games of chance.

The reason behind this is that he believes that regulating gambling would open the doors to casinos and other types of gambling in general.

As the conservative groups have said in Congress while debating the bill, they believe gambling is ‘immoral’, and Bolsonaro assured that he would veto “any bill approved by Congress that seeks to allow a legal market for casinos, bingo halls and games of chance in general”.

“Sports betting is different from games of chance. In Brazil, if gambling is allowed, then there will be a problem. Slot machines cannot be legal,” said Bolsonaro in October.

“In my opinion, there is a difference between bets and gambling. I think that Brazil is not yet mature enough to discuss this but congress has a mandate… as stands, I will veto it.”

Market estimations

Considering that it has a 215 million population and an affinity for sports, the betting sector in Brazil could be worth around $2.1bn by 2024 and $3.4bn by 2027, according to H2 Gambling Capital.

Additionally, Felipe Carreras, who drafted the bill that needed Bolsonaro’s signature, said that the legalization could bring in $3.9bn in annual taxes, generate 200,000 jobs and formalize another 450,000.