Senate committee approves proposal to reform land-based gaming in Brazil


The bill would allow casinos in tourist areas.

Brazil.- The Senate Constitution and Justice Committee (CCJ) has approved Bill No. 2,234/2022, which aims to reform the legislation for land-based casinos, horseracing betting, bingo and instant win jogo do bicho games. It voted 14-12 in favour of the bill, which will now move to the State Plenary for revision.

Land-based gambling is being treated separately from sports betting. Legislation on the latter was signed off by president Lula da Silva in December, and progress is being made in establishing a regulatory framework. The land-based gambling reforms had largely stalled since the 2022 bill failed to advance last year. However, the bill was resurrected by senator Irajá Abreu (PSD-TO), who has insisted that lawmakers cannot ignore reforms that could generate “about 1.5 million direct and indirect jobs in the country.”

“After studying this issue in depth, it is impossible to conclude that the whole world is wrong and only Brazil is right in not addressing and establishing criteria and limits for such an important and necessary project in the lives and routines of all Brazilians,” Abreu said.

The bill in its current form retains many of its original provisions. It would reverse President Gaspar Dutra’s 1946 Decree Law, which banned casinos from operating in municipalities and districts. It would allow land-based casinos in tourist locations or “integrated leisure complexes” with a limit of one per state and the Federal District. The larger states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Paraná and Amazonas would be allowed two casinos, and São Paulo three.

Meanwhile, bingo would be allowed in one designated establishment per municipality plus additional venues depending on population size. Licences valid for 25 years would be granted by municipalities and would require a minimum capital of R$10m. As for jogo do bicho, one operator would be allowed for every 700,000 inhabitants in each state and the Federal district.

Regarding horseracing, the bill would promote the modernisation of turf courses to be overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture.

There would be several limitations. Betting would be allowed for “only individuals with full civil capacity”, excluding those declared insolvent, over-indebted or involved in debt restructuring in the past two years. A National Register of Prohibited Persons would be created, against which operators would have to check customers. The bill also calls for a National Policy for the Protection of Gamblers and Bettors.

Regarding prizes, the bill would require that at least 80 per cent of casino and bingo revenue must go to prizes and 40 per cent for jogo do bicho. Operators would not be allowed to offer loans or promotions. Prizes of over R$10,000 would be subject to a withholding tax of 20 per cent. Operators would pay a Gaming and Betting Inspection Fee and the Contribution of Intervention in the Economic Domain. States would administer taxes.

The bill is likely to see revisions. It has been challenged by the Senate Evangelical Caucus, which had opposed it on previous occasions. The Caucus wants amendments to exclude gambling in districts with high crime rates.

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gambling regulation Land-based casinos