BiS 2022: Brazilian gambling legalization efforts have better chances after presidential elections

Nearly 2,000 people attended last week’s Brazilian iGaming Summit (BiS) at Espaço Boulevard JK, located in downtown Sao Paulo, where the convention center’s capacity was filled to capacity throughout the two-day event. The key contribution of the conferences was in the definitions related to sports betting regulations and gambling legalization in the country, with the presence of the Ministry of Economy and lawmakers.

The exhibition area was packed with more than 35 exhibitorsincluding companies such as Pragmatic Play, BetConstruct, Betcris, Sportradar, GLI, Skilrock, Vibra Gaming and Digitain, among many others, and their executives held interviews and business meetings all day long. The event also included a cocktail and the Brazilian iGaming Awards ceremony, but the core element of BiS was the conferences across Tuesday and Wednesday, covered in person by Yogonet.

The opening was lecture in charge of organizer Alessandro ValentePresident of Jericho Eventos and founding partner of SuperAfiliados. Geanluca LorenzonSecretary of Advocacy for Competition and Competitiveness at Brazil’s Ministry of Economy, was one of the first speakers, and avoided giving details on the progress of the regulation of sports betting —which will be in full force as of December 13 this year despite the regulation of Law No. 13,756/18 is pending—, citing the complex political moment the country is going through, in the middle of a presidential election campaign for October. We are waiting for the decree, we cannot anticipate if it will come out in days, weeks or months,” Lorenzon explained.

Geanluca Lorenzon at BiS 2022

“What can we say about the regulation? First of all, I ask for everyone’s patience regarding the government’s moves on gambling regulation. We are listening to everyone, and news will come soon,” added the government official, and he also noted: “As regulators, we pay attention to the industry’s wishes. We are a liberal government and that has to be reflected in the regulations and in our actions. We want to offer efficiency in the market, with as few restrictions as possible.“More details on the publication of the presidential decree will come very soonbut I express here our commitment that everything will be transparent and the regulations will be available to the market,” Lorenzon concluded.

Another key panel came later on day one, where Leonardo Baptista, CEO of Pay4Fun, moderated the participation of Cássio Filter, Country Manager for Brazil at KTO; Michael Luiz RabeloNew Business Analyst at SERPROand André Gelfi, Managing Partner for Brazil at Betsson Group. In a lengthy talk, they delved into the features of the current market, and shared their views on the upcoming changes with the imminent regulation of the sector, among other topics.

Gelfi said the best scenario is a regulated market, since a country the size of Brazil runs many risks: “The size of the market already has, moving billions, without any kind of control, is fertile ground for the manipulation of results and other things. It may seem interesting when the government focuses on regulation and does not have much control over what happens in the present by companies that do not pay taxes. But, in my opinion, the best scenario is the market with regulation and the worst scenario is without it.”

During the second day of the Brazilian iGaming Summit, key political stakeholders in Brazil agreed that the pre-electoral climate imposes a waiting period in the progress of the regulation of fixed-odds betting, or sports bettingwhile waiting for the presidential decree, as well as the analysis in the Senate of the initiative that would allow the regulation of casinos, bingos, online gaming and jogo do bichoamong other verticals. Iuri Ribeiro da Silva e Castrohead of Special Affairs, Lotteries and Export Processing Zones, linked to the Undersecretary of Advocacy for Competition and Competitiveness of Brazil´s Ministry of Economy, noted the work of the agency to shape the parameters of the pending presidential decree. “As there is a political dimension, we cannot give a deadline for the regulation to come out,” the Government official explained. “We have studied the regulations of several international markets, such as England, Malta, Colombia, the United States, Portugal and Argentina (Buenos Aires in particular)in order to learn about success stories. We want to replicate the best international practices, and we still have to consult Brazilian laws, so that the regulation of betting is in line with them,He highlighted.

Iuri Ribeiro da Silva e Castro at BiS 2022

“The group that conducted the studies listened to many players in the sector, to understand the needs of the market. We recognize the importance of this space (BiS), to give us even more elements that allow us to reach a regulation that effectively meets the needs of the market and the country. Therefore, I hope that in the short term we will have a new event like this, to discuss the regulation of the sector,” added the official. “The law already exists and this is a reality, but we still have to work on the regulation”, he concluded.

Later, important figures of national politics agreed that it is necessary to wait for the presidential elections in order to be able to vote the Gaming Law in the Senate with a greater margin of approval possibilities. The panel “Regulation and the positive impacts for Brazil” gathered deputies Bacelar and Herculano Passos, specialist Daniel Homem de Carvalho (from OAB), and Karen Sierra-Hughes, on behalf of GLI, who were moderated by Magnho Josepresident of the Legal Gaming Institute and editor of BNL Data. Baselar supported the moderator’s vision by pointing out that today it is necessary to wait for the vote on PL 442/91, since such bill will have much more chances to come to fruition after the presidential elections, since even if President Bolsonaro himself pushes a veto to the Law (in case it is approved), he will no longer have the political support of Congress to sustain such veto. If he vetoes it, I am sure that in Congress we will override the vetohe said.

Subsequently, Herculano Passos again defended the approval of the project for the national economy: “Brazil needs resources and we cannot waste any more time to approve gambling in the country, which will represent billions of reales in taxesand offers hundreds of thousands of jobs,” he said, and added: “The approval of PL 442/91 encourages us to believe the project will advance also in the Senate, and I hope it will continue in the same direction to the Presidency of the Republic for its signature.” “President Bolsonaro said he would veto the bill, but I am sure that Congress will override that veto,” the legislator added.

Daniel Homem de Carvalho, from the OAB’s National Gaming Commission, noted that “gaming is not prohibited in Brazil. What is prohibited is private gaming, and that is why the Government is always very reluctant to approve a law for this activity.”

Finally, Karen Sierra-Hughes, vice-president of GLI for Latin America and the Caribbean, considered that Brazil cannot afford to lose the chance to regulate the gaming sector. For the executive, the regulation must be discussed by the Government, the regulators and all the actors of the market, so that the country expands a really important activity to boost its economy: “The world market sees Brazil as one of the main markets in the world and, in fact, the country needs to take advantage of this moment, to offer society an extremely rich activity, due to the taxes and jobs it can generate,she finished.

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