Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies is unlikely to let the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff on major corruption charges get in the way of a vote on a proposed gambling bill. The bill, known as SB 186/2014, is currently in the final stages of drafting and it is expected to be put to the vote in June this year. If the bill can eventually become law, then it will have a major impact on the economy of the country. In its current form, the bill proposes to permit the introduction of around 35 land based casinos, 600,000 terminals for video bingo, 1,200 bingo parlours, in addition to a number of licenses for online sports betting, bingo, and casino.
Lawmakers will also be considering another bill, PL 442/1991, which has been written to revoke the ban on the immensely popular game jogo de bicho. Also known as the animal game lottery, this game hasn’t lost any popularity even though it was banned by the federal government in 1946!
The planned votes had been the subject of much discussion during the recently concluded Brazil Gaming Congress 2016. Industry experts are no doubt eager to see gambling legalized in the country but there are concerns that the ongoing political upheavals in Brazil will put a spanner in the works. Lawmakers in the country voted 55-22 to suspend sitting President Dilma Rousseff in order to make way for her eventual impeachment trial. However, this shouldn’t be a problem because the government is functioning under the leadership of Vice-president Michel Temer. In fact, Social Democratic Party lawmaker Herculano Passos even said that Temer is likely to have a positive impact on the vote and will play a role in loosening up the gambling industry in the country.
If Brazil can reduce the existing restrictions on gambling then it will have a major impact on the industry as a whole. The legal gambling operations in the country include lotteries run by the federal and state governments as well as betting on horse racing and this amounts to an impressive $4 billion per year. The Federal Lottery makes up the lion’s share of this business at $3.85 billion, and the rest almost evenly divided amongst state lotteries and horse racing.
What the gambling industry as well as lawmakers is more interested in is the illegal gambling industry. This industry eclipses the legal gambling market at almost $6 billion. More than half of this money comes from jogo de bicho. There are also lots of illegal slot machines in the country, with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion. Illegally run bingo operations also generate $370 million annually. Brazilians also like to visit online gambling sites where they wager approximately $875 million every year.
The Brazilian government stands to earn approximately $5 billion in taxes every year if all gambling operations here can be legalized finally. Furthermore, Brazilians who visit online sites to gamble on Tiki Island slots and other games will also be assured of increased safety thanks to better regulation.