Further progress for Brazilian gambling bill

Further progress for Brazilian gambling bill

Thursday, December 10, 2015 Totally Gaming
The proposed law would allow casinos for the first time since 1946

Legalised gambling in Brazil has moved a step closer after a bill that would allow casinos for the first time in 70 years was passed by a parliamentary commission.

The Special Commission of National Development (CEDN) approved Senate Bill PLS 186/2014, originally authored by Senator Ciro Nogueira, but amended by chair Senator Blairo Maggi. As well as casinos, the law would also allow bingo, electronic games and lottery game ‘jogo do bicho’.

If the bill is eventually approved by the Senate, it will still require approval by the House of Representatives before the final step of being presented to the country's president for his or her approval.

Nogueira has claimed that legalised gambling could raise up to R15bn (€3.65bn/$4.0bn) in taxes per year, and the bill has gained support thanks to a focus among Brazil’s politicians on new ways of generating economic growth. Earlier this year, the country’s government asked lawmakers to consider allowing gambling just weeks after President Dilma Rousseff stalled the progress of sports betting legislation.

Maggi said that a regulated gambling sector would “root out corruption that exists today and, at the same time, achieve a significant increase in government revenues”. His amendment to Nogueira’s bill included the provision that only persons able to prove tax compliance could run gambling operations.

Eight of the 11 senators voted in favour of the bill, with two against and one abstaining. Senator Cristovam Buarque was one of the opponents, saying that gambling “takes money from the many and gives to the few”, and added that it is linked to illicit practices such as drugs and prostitution.

Under the legislation, bingo and ‘jogo do bicho’ would be the responsibility of each state, while the central government would regulate casino rooms. The former would also have the responsibility of licence authorisation regulation in their respective territories.

Casino licences would be granted for a 20-year period and would be renewable for the same period of time. Gross revenues from gaming operations would be subject to a seven per cent tax in the states where they are located, while a three per cent tax on gaming revenues would be levied on municipalities. 

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