Once again, Brazil Senate postpones discussion on sports betting

Date: November 22, 2023, 06:48h. 

Last updated on: November 22, 2023, 06:48h.

Brazil has once again delayed its crucial vote on the sports betting legislation. The Economic Affairs Commission (CAE, for its Portuguese acronym) was set to discuss the bill on Tuesday but has postponed the meeting to Wednesday, pushing back the possibility of a full Senate vote.

Brazil's Senate chamber sits empty
Brazil’s Senate chamber sits empty. The Senate delayed again a vote on proposed sports betting legislation. (Image: AdobeStock)

The delay comes as a result of a lengthy list of introduced amendments and changes to the bill, which had received approval from the Chamber of Deputies in September. One of the key points of contention revolves around the proposed tax rates on sports betting companies.

However, with at least 30 amendments entered into the text, this delay is likely to affect the progress and lengthen the odds that the bill will be approved completely this month.

Rewriting the Book

The original text of the bill called for an 18% tax, but Senator Ângelo Coronel, the CAE’s administrator of the bill, reportedly changed it to 15%. Coronel reportedly made a few other changes, including a reduction in the taxation of winners in fantasy sports contests from 30% to 15%.

The sports betting bill has been a topic of heated discussion in Brazil, with stakeholders closely monitoring its progress. The delays and alterations to tax rates have added complexity to an already intricate legislative process.

The tax change has also caused a dilemma in the Senate. The federal government had initially estimated a substantial financial boost from the taxation of sports betting, projecting revenues ranging from R$2 billion to R$6 billion (US$408 million to $1.22 billion) in 2024.

Additionally, Coronel added a measure that would require sports betting operators to have a Brazilian partner holding at least 20% of their share capital.

iGaming Legislation Still Alive

A separate section of the bill would lead to the creation of an online casino market in Brazil. As is the case with sports betting, online gambling would be able to be operated exclusively by companies based in the country.

Unregulated online gaming is still prevalent in Brazil. Legalizing the activity would bring more security, reliability and transparency to the sector.

The regulation also includes protection for players from possible negative side effects of illegal activity, such as fraud and scams, and would give the government the opportunity to introduce controls and measures to properly address gambling education and harm.

It’s possible that the CAE will vote on the bill today, although it has already delayed the process several times. The Senate can’t put the legislation to a vote until the committee completes its review, and even then, if it survives, the bill must return to the Chamber of Deputies for further approval of all the changes.

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