Brazil Senate to Vote on Sports Betting Bill

Posted on: October 25, 2023, 06:44h. 

Last updated on: October 26, 2023, 12:31h.

Brazil’s Senate is slated to vote Tuesday on a pivotal sports betting bill. The legislation is spearheaded by Senator Romário de Souza Faria, a former soccer player and the Senate’s Sports Commission president.

The Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Brazil Senate will reportedly vote on sports betting legislation on Tuesday. (Image: Pinterest)

The voting process comes on the heels of deliberate delays strategically orchestrated to facilitate public consultation. The submission of more than 80 amendments exacerbated the situation, indicative of the diverse perspectives and considerations surrounding the proposed bill.

The revised bill extends the sports betting operator license period from three to five years. This adjustment aligns with a broader strategy to foster stability and longevity within the industry. Operators can manage two brands under a single license under the revised bill.

The Chamber of Deputies has already given its nod of approval to the legislation, setting the stage for the Senate’s crucial decision. Senator Romário’s influence in shaping the reformed draft reflects a unique intersection of sports and legislative expertise.

The outcome of Tuesday’s Senate vote holds profound implications for the future of sports betting in Brazil, with potential ramifications for the broader gaming sector. However, the finish line is still a long way away. The bill must return to the Chamber of Deputies for approval if the Senate greenlights the updated language.

Tax Changes

While the gross gaming tax rate remains at 18%, a key point of interest lies in the altered configuration underpinning this taxation framework. This adjustment deviates from the initially approved version by the Chamber of Deputies, reflecting a dynamic legislative process that accommodates evolving perspectives and economic considerations.

The largest percentage (4%) will go to the Ministry of Sports, followed by the Ministry of Tourism and its 3.5%. The National Public Security Fund will receive 2.55%, and the Ministry of Education may receive 1.82%.

The Ministry of Finance has predicted that a legal sports betting market could mean as much as BRL$12 billion (US$2.38 billion) in revenue. If the market reaches that figure, the various entities benefitting from the activity stand to make a windfall.

Brazil’s Sports Betting History

In 2018, Brazil saw the legalization of sports betting, but progress in the regulatory process stopped. The government set Dec. 12, 2022, as the deadline to finalize the regularization of sports betting. However, it was a deadline that was ultimately not met.

In February 2022, the Gambling Regulatory Framework was approved to oversee various games of chance, including sports betting. But, despite its approval, the law has lingered in the Senate. There, it faces resistance primarily from the evangelical caucus and former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

More recently, spurred by industry growth and a scandal involving the manipulation of soccer results, the government has renewed its efforts. Finance Minister Fernando Haddad crafted Provisional Measure 1182/23 to regulate sports betting as part of a broader tax reform initiative.

Another bill incorporated this measure, representing a renewed push to address the regulatory framework surrounding sports betting. However, there is still some resistance in the Senate, which may cause issues during Tuesday’s vote.