Gambling Legislation

Brazil casino bill could see Senate make a decision today

Brazil casino bill could see Senate make a decision today

Lawmakers have little time remaining to advance casino legislation

Brazil’s Senate Constitution and Justice Committee (CCJ) will soon vote on a bill (PL) to expand gambling and permit operators to offer casinos and bingo games, horse racing betting, and the jogo do bicho. This bill is one of 18 topics on the agenda when the CCJ meets today at 10:00 AM.

The PL was already approved by the Chamber of Deputies in 2022 and is now being considered by the Senate. If approved, the bill authorizes casinos to be constructed in many tourist hubs and leisure complexes throughout the country. This could include luxury hotels with at least 100 rooms, cultural event spaces, bars, and restaurants.

São Paulo is the only state permitted to have three casinos, while Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Pará and Amazonas will be allowed up to two. Other states are only permitted to host one casino each.

Senator Irajá is the rapporteur of the CCJ. He believes the PL should be approved with one amendment to the language: The term “Ministry of Economy” should be replaced with “Ministry of Finance.”

Irajá says the PL’s biggest benefit is regulating activity that already happens illegally to be controlled by the State, which helps reduce the links between organized crime and gambling. Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) data shows that in 2014, both legal and illicit gambling generated R$50 billion in revenue.

Senator Eduardo Girão (Novo-CE) is prepared to vote against the legislation, citing that legalized gambling in Brazil will have higher social costs as opposed to its overall benefits. He believes that crimes such as money laundering and tax evasion will increase and warns about the negative impact of gambling addiction.

If approved by the CCJ, the fate of the PL will be decided by the Senate plenary.

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