Brazil’s Casino and Bingo Legalization Bill Moves to Senate Plenary

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June 22nd, 2024
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On June 19, 2024, PL 2,234/2022 was approved by a narrow margin of 14 to 12 votes in Brazil's Legislative Chamber, advancing the bill to the Senate plenary for further deliberation. The bill, which has been under review since 2022, outlines comprehensive regulations for casinos, betting machines, bingo, and animal racing, including horseracing.

During the Comissão de Constituição e Justiça (CCJ) meeting, Senator Irajá highlighted the bill’s potential benefits, framing the regulation of betting and gaming as a “great opportunity” for Brazil. He emphasized that this development would generate jobs, income, and taxes, ultimately benefiting essential sectors such as health, education, social welfare, and infrastructure. “We can no longer lose this great opportunity that other competing countries have already understood,” he stated.

Taxation Framework and Financial Provisions

The bill introduces two new types of taxes: the Gaming and Betting Inspection Fee (Tafija) and the Economic Intervention Contribution (Cide-Jogos), which would be levied on the marketing of games and betting. Tafija payments are set to be made quarterly, with casinos liable for R$600,000, online gaming locations for R$300,000, and bingo halls, Jogo de Bicho operators, and tourism companies for R$20,000. The Cide-Jogos tax rate is proposed at 17% of gross revenue, while prizes exceeding R$10,000 will incur a 20% income tax.

Regulatory Details for Casinos

Should the bill pass into law, it would permit casinos only in designated tourist centers or integrated leisure complexes, defined as resorts and hotels equipped with bars, meeting spaces, and a minimum of 100 rooms. Casinos would be restricted to venues created specifically for this purpose, a stipulation introduced by Senator Ângelo Coronel. Additionally, casinos could be established on boats and ships with at least 50 rooms, provided they meet specific river length criteria.

A cap of one casino per state and the Federal District is set, with some exceptions: São Paulo may have up to three casinos, while Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas, and Pará could each host up to two. To operate, each casino must demonstrate a minimum paid-up share capital of R$100 million (£14.5 million/€17.1 million/US$18.4 million).

Bingo and Racing Regulations

The bill permits bingo in card, electronic, and video formats. Each municipality is allowed one bingo house, with larger cities permitted one per 150,000 residents. Once licensed, bingo houses can operate for 25 years, subject to renewal, and must have a minimum paid-up share capital of R$10 million. The bill also stipulates that one legal racing entity is allowed per 700,000 inhabitants, except in Roraima, where a Jogo do Bicho operator is permitted due to its low population density.

Bets on horseracing will be managed by Brazilian tourism entities accredited by the Ministry of Agriculture. These entities may also operate bingo and video bingo games, provided these are available at race venues.

Enhanced Protections for Bettors

PL 2,234/2022 introduces the National Registry of Prohibited Persons (Renapro), a self-exclusion program for land-based bettors. Casinos must verify whether individuals are listed in Renapro before allowing entry. Additionally, the bill proposes the National Policy for the Protection of Players and Bettors, establishing guidelines for fair gambling practices and discouraging compulsive behavior.

The legislation also introduces new criminal offenses related to gambling. Participation in or promotion of unlicensed games could lead to up to four years in prison, with penalties doubled if minors are involved. Tampering with game outcomes could result in up to seven years imprisonment, with enhanced penalties for offenses involving minors, the elderly, or those registered with Renapro.

Following President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s approval of Bill 3,626/2023 in December, which legalized sports betting and iGaming, Brazil has accelerated its move towards a regulated gaming industry. The Ministry of Finance’s roadmap outlines stages for implementing sports betting and iGaming, with legal operations expected by the end of July. Currently, Brazil is in stage three, where the Regulatory Policy of the Prizes and Betting Secretariat (SPA) is publishing technical and security requirements for iGaming operators.

Source:

Brazil commission votes to legalise casinos and bingo, igamingbusiness.com, June 20, 2021. 

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