Senate in Brazil Ready to Vote on Sports Betting Bill

Posted on: November 17, 2023, 06:56h. 

Last updated on: November 17, 2023, 06:56h.

Brazil’s Senate is finally making progress with its discussion on legalized sports betting. The chamber has been sitting on a bill the Chamber of Deputies approved months ago, but could be ready to make an important step forward next week.

Brazilian Senator Eduardo Braga and another senator celebrate legislative efforts
Brazilian Senator Eduardo Braga and another senator celebrate legislative efforts. The chamber is finally ready to advance a sports betting bill and put it to a vote. (Image: BBN Breaking)

The chief minister of the Secretariat of Institutional Relations, Alexandre Padilha, announced the progress in a statement on Thursday. He said an agreement was signed between the government and the President of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, and other Senate leaders to vote on the bill next week.

Padilha revealed, at a press conference at Planalto Palace, the President’s primary offices, that the Senate’s Economic Affairs Committee (EAC) is next in line to vote. Provided there are no surprise obstacles there, the Senate plenary will then immediately put the measure to a vote, as well.

Brazil’s Senate Caves to Pressure

About 10 days ago, the chamber’s Sports Committee gave its approval for the language, which has undergone a number of revisions, before passing it to the EAC. The Chamber of Deputies had approved the bill in September before sending it to the Senate.

The agreement for voting next week came after the government agreed to remove the “urgency stamp” from the proposal. That figurative stamp had blocked the voting agenda of the Senate plenary since November 11, which prevented the analysis of any other matter.

The bill regulates sports betting both online and in commercial establishments. It also defines the taxation regime, putting the tax rate at 18%. This is significantly higher than the initial version of the bill and has been a point of controversy among lawmakers.

The text approved by the Senate Sports Committee allocates 3.5% of the revenue to the Ministry of Tourism, instead of 4% proposed by the Chamber of Deputies. Embratur, the Brazilian Tourist Board, will receive 0.8%, not 1% as was originally stipulated.

The Ministry of Health will start receiving 0.5% of the tax revenue. However, this allocation is specifically for the development of responsible gambling prevention and treatment programs.

The Ministry of Finance’s expectation is to raise up to BRL12 billion (US$2.46 billion) per year in tax revenue for the state.

Optimistic Economic Goals

Amid the debates circulating around legalized sports betting, one of the biggest discussions is the economic contribution it will bring. Some people within the industry believe that 7,000-12,000 new jobs could emerge in the short and medium term once the regulation is definitively approved.

The insiders cite the emergence of call centers and compliance with the provisions of the regulations as the basis for their projections. Among a myriad of rules, operators must register with Consumidor.Gov, a conflict resolution portal. They must also obtain certifications of their platforms from international laboratories.

The regulation of sports betting in Brazil, projected to be the largest market in Latin America, will create a huge range of opportunities aimed at growing the market. The generation of new jobs will also allow for the creation and training of specialized professionals, which will lead to even more possibilities for economic growth.

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