Brazil’s Ministry of Finance expects sports betting to increase competitiveness

Multicolored paper planes on a white background
Image: Shutterstock

The Brazilian Congress is set to discuss the provisional measure (MP) that will regulate the land-based and online sports betting markets soon. The approval will arrive once the proposal is reviewed by the Ministries of Finance, Justice and Sports.

In a conversation with SBC Notícias Brasil, José Francisco Manssur, Special Advisor to the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Finance of Brazil, discussed which topics are included in the MP and what will be the next steps to have a regulated industry in the country.

As Manssur explained, Law 13,756/2018 legalized fixed-odds betting in Brazil. Initially, the country had two years to regulate the industry, with the possibility to extend that period for another two years. Former President Jair Bolsonaro had the chance to sign the bill into law at the end of December 2022 but decided not to do it for political and religious reasons.

That four-year period wasn’t enough for Brazil to approve a set of rules, so “the government had to fill that gap in just a few months,” Manssur said.

The MP regulates the industry through different ordinances: the document includes general information about taxes, penalties and other operational details. While the Congress analyzes the MP, the Government will be able to edit these ordinances.

“All these issues, as the law says, must be resolved by a provisional measure,” Manssur said.

As different associations revealed in the past month, the regulatory framework follows the UK’s. The Premier League recently approved a front-of-shirt sportsbook sponsorship ban. However, Manssur said that they’re not interested in banning advertising, since Brazil recognizes the importance of sponsorship deals with teams from different sports.

“Our idea is not to cause damage and drive sponsors away from the teams,” he said.

Recent opposition from the Evangelical Parliamentary Front (FPE) and the Parliamentary Front for a Brazil without Gambling has also emphasized the need to look into problem gambling. Manssur said that “advertising is very important as it helps reach bettors” and that the idea is to “create rules so it doesn’t lead to a wild betting environment, as it currently is.”

Furthermore, he clarified that the Economic team in charge of the sports betting regulations has reached out to the National Council for Advertising Self-Regulation (CONAR) “to find out what the advertising market and the entities that work with problem gambling and addiction can do to carry out regulated, conscious and responsible activities.”

The MP also addresses the fight against match-fixing and money laundering. There is a collaborative effort between different entities to develop comprehensive rules, including the Ministries of Justice, Sports and Finance, the Central Bank, police authorities, sports administration entities, the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), clubs and the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB).

“In terms of manipulation, the Government wants joint efforts so we end up with the most effective methods at a global level,” Manssur added.

The full interview in Portuguese can be found here.