Brazilian lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that calls for the legalization and regulation of a number of gambling services in the country. Members of the Senate’s Constitution and Justice Commission are set to cast their votes on the legislative piece today, December 13, after reviewing its revised version last week.
Authored and sponsored by Senators Ciro Nogueira and Benedito de Lira, PLS 186/2014 has been floating across Brazil’s legal scene in one form or another over the past several years. Sen. Nogueira, in particular, has turned into one of the staunchest supporters of a major gambling regulatory overhaul in the country.
Although his bill has gained a certain amount of momentum over the years, no important actions and decisions have been made in relation to what it has been calling for.
With very few exceptions, gambling is prohibited in Brazil and has been prohibited for over six decades. Sen. Nogueira has maintained that a change in the legal status quo is a necessary move as the lack of proper regulations has resulted in Brazil losing billions each year to offshore operators that have targeted local players on the Internet and to domestic providers of illegal gambling services. According to the lawmaker, Brazilians annually wager R$18 billion (approximately $5.4 billion) on different illegal gambling activities.
It is believed that with proper regulations and taxation, the South American country could turn into one of the world’s largest regulated markets, if not the largest one. Major international land-based and online gambling operators have expressed interest in operating in the country. Las Vegas casino giants Las Vegas Sands and Caesars Entertainment have been among the companies to have revealed plans to build casino resorts in Brazil, if it legalizes casino gambling.
The Gambling Bill’s Contents
Generally speaking, PLS 186/2014 calls for the legalization and regulation of land-based casinos, bingo, online gambling, sports betting and betting on non-sports events, and the locally popular game Jogo do Bicho. The bill also contains extensive information and proposals on how the potentially expanded gambling industry will be regulated.
In terms of licensing, land-based casinos will be issued 30-year licenses that will be able to be renewed in future. Bingo operators will be granted 20-year licenses.
In terms of taxation, land-based gambling services will be taxed at 10% on gross gambling revenue. Online gambling operators will be required to contribute 20% of their gross gambling revenue. Previous proposals for a flat 30% rate were rejected by lawmakers.
Other proposals contained in the bill that did not gain support included the authorization of existing hotels and existing horse racing tracks to operate casinos in future.
If PLS 186/2014 gains enough support from the Commission’s 27 members during today’s vote, it will then be referred to the full Senate floor. A full Senate vote could occur on the same day. If rejected, the bill can still make it before the full Senate, if a congressman makes a request for that.
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