Brazil sports betting regulations heading for Senate floor

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The process for regulating sports betting in Brazil could come to a successful close next week as draft regulations are set to hit the Senate floor on Tuesday. 

That’s according to Rodrigo Pacheco, the President of the Senate, who spoke once the draft regulations were approved by the Sports Commission after intervening to increase the license period from three to five years. 

Further action will be taken next week, Pacheco stated, as the Economic Affairs Commission is penciled in to approve the regulations before they reach the floor of the upper chamber in the afternoon. A successful vote would bring to a close a long, arduous process to regulate sports betting in Brazil over the last five years.

Pacheco stated: “It would not be possible to evaluate the planned projects if it were not for the initiative of the leaders of the Federal Government, and of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva himself, to promote the elimination of the constitutional urgency imposed on the bill.”

The main source of controversy from the process has been that of marketing and sponsorships, after the Sports Commission opined that Brazilian soccer clubs should not be allowed to have sponsorship deals with sports betting operators. 

Arguing back, 39 out of 40 clubs in the top two divisions of soccer signed a statement ordering the commission to revoke the amendment. All 39 of those clubs currently have sponsorship agreements in place and cite the loss of income should the amendment be ratified. 

“The total ban suggested by the Sports Commission, in addition to being unsuccessful for the proposed objective and deviating from the objective of the law, which is to regulate the type of fixed-odds bets, would represent direct and irreparable damage to the main current source of income from Brazilian football, in addition to the risk of interfering with existing contracts,” reads the document signed by the clubs.

Moreover, representatives from the operators also echoed the sentiments, noting that there would be economic repercussions if the decision was to be taken. 

Andre Gelfi, President of the Brazilian Institute for Responsible Gaming (IBJR) estimated that Brazilian soccer could lose 400m reais ($82.3m) in the event of losing sponsorship income. 

He stated: “It is money that will no longer exist for the clubs and that has an important weight in Series A, B and C of the Brazilian Championship. If the amendment is approved, the blanket will be shortened for most teams.”