After Japan, the next big country ready to legalize gambling is Brazil. And in preparation, the country sent a cohort of gaming industry insiders to Las Vegas, where they took a crash course on gaming regulation.
Starting last week, five Brazilians attended UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, where the school’s International Center for Gaming Regulation held a five-day curriculum on “Fundamentals of Regulation for Land-Based Casinos.” Classes included study on the history of regulatory processes, casino organization and structure, financial reporting, licensing, suitability standards, and the future of gaming regulation.
A class of 25 students consisting of gaming industry officials, regulators, and executives from around the world participated in seminars, and went on private casino tours, where they received behind-the-scenes insight about of VIP gaming lounges, nightclubs, and non-gaming attractions.
According to Games Magazine Brazil, the five Brazilian students included economist and ludology researcher Otavio Cunha (ludology is the study of games), Brazilian Games Institute founders Max and Marcus Fontes, gaming consultant José Renato Ferreira, and sports lawyer Vantuil Gonçalves Jr., who is a board member of a football club.
In August, staff of Brazil’s Ministry of Finance, including the undersecretary of fiscal governance and lottery regulation and the vice president of government funds and lotteries, attended a training session called “Strategic Prospects in the Gaming Industry and Fundamentals and Regulation of the Gaming Law,” also held at UNLV.
Brazil is looking to offset the financial catastrophe that was the 2016 Summer Olympics, and casino resorts are emerging as a plausible solution to generate new forms of tax revenue. Aside from a lottery game called Jogo do Bicho, gambling is currently outlawed in Brazil, though many in government have expressed interest in changing that.
In May, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson visited Brazil and floated the idea of building an $8 billion integrated casino resort in Rio de Janeiro to government officials.
UNLV Knows Best
Nevada prides itself as an authority on government regulation. Both UNR in Reno and UNLV in Las Vegas have spent decades studying the industry, and recently began teaching leaders of tomorrow how it all works.
This fall, UNLV researchers traveled to Japan to educate government officials about regulations, and those meetings could lead to a change in the country’s approach to gaming regulation.
Japan’s National Diet is expected to unveil a bill that lays out its rules and regulations for legal casino gambling in the first half of 2018. The plan will have major casino conglomerates from Las Vegas and around the world competing for two coveted integrated resort licenses.
While MGM Resorts says it’s finished building new casinos from the ground up, with Japan the only possible exception should they win a license there, Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands is actively monitoring the potential liberalization of gaming in Brazil as either an alternative or addition to what he could build in Japan.
With billions of investment immediately at stake, both countries are learning how to craft regulations based on fundamentals taught and lessons learned in Las Vegas.