ICE: Industry urged to lobby Brazil as regulatory change looms

ICE: Industry urged to lobby Brazil as regulatory change looms

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 Totally Gaming
Input from experts required to ensure flawed law isn't adopted, Maia says

The gaming industry must lobby political decision-makers in Brazil without delay in order to ensure workable regulations are adopted in the country, according to Luiz Felipe Maia, a Founding Partner of law firm Oliveira Ramos, Maia e Advogados Associados.

Speaking in a seminar focusing on gaming opportunities in Latin America at ICE Totally Gaming, Maia explained how Brazil is finally moving on from a turbulent history of gaming regulation towards new legislation.

However, he highlighted several issues with the current bill, which he said is very likely to be amended by the Deputies Special Commission before being sent back to the Senate for approval before being signed off by the President.

“It is not a question of whether the industry will be regulated, but how it will be regulated,” Maia said today at the ExCel in London.

“Currently gaming is not allowed, but it is very easy to find illegal operations. Now we are at the stage where Congress is working on a bill of law that has been passed by the Senate.

“This is the time for the gambling industry to come to Brazil and lobby. The industry needs to invest in media communication to alter public perception.

“The average Brazilian sees the gambling industry as featuring money laundering, sharks, prostitution and criminals whereas we know that the opposite is true. The industry needs to show what it is and what it can do for the country.”

Maia highlighted a restrictive definition of ‘gaming’ in the proposed bill as one of several potential areas of concern.

“There is too much focus on bingo and destination casinos, and almost nothing on online gaming in the bill,” he added.

“The perception of the gambling industry is very out of date. Also, the implications for games of skill – such as poker, eSports and Fantasy Sports – are unclear, so it is not certain whether these will be subject to the regulations.”

Maia also bemoaned the “famous” levels of tax in Brazil.

“We’re trying to show the politicians that they have to let people operate,” he added. “If the taxes are too high, then the operators won’t come and there won’t be any taxes to collect.”

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