Casinos Could Be Coming To Indigenous Villages in Brazil

Posted on: August 12, 2022, 07:21h. 

Last updated on: August 12, 2022, 02:12h.

There is growing support for the return of gambling activity to Brazil. As lawmakers continue to discuss the next steps they want to take, a legislator is suggesting that the indigenous villages of the Amazon region receive approval to host casinos.

Amazon Rain forest
An aerial view of part of Brazil’s Amazon Rain Forest. A legislator from the state of Amazonas proposes allowing casinos in its indigenous villages. (Image: Pinterest)

Depending on how the federal legislature finalizes the country’s Regulatory Framework for Gambling, the number of approved gambling facilities may grow. A candidate for governor of the state of Amazonas, Henrique Oliveira, suggests the region’s indigenous areas deserve to have casinos, as well.

Local media outlet Correio da Amazonia explained that the topic was on the agenda of a recent debate between the candidates for governor of Amazonas. However, according to the report, the proposal didn’t garner much support, even from the locals.

Tribal Land for Casinos

Oliveira stated in the debate that casinos would boost the economy and open roads through forests for isolated villages. In addition, he explained that the natural environment of the Amazons would prove beneficial to the success of the casinos.

Those following the debate offered their reactions to the proposal online. However, most thought the idea was absurd. Correio da Amazonia quoted one as saying that Oliveira “lacks intelligence and discernment, and this is the only project he should have for Amazonas.”

Legislators from other states and Amazonas have repeatedly discussed the Regulatory Framework for Gambling, which is said to have support from Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism. However, none had brought up the possibility of adding casinos to indigenous lands.

In March of this year, the Chamber of Deputies approved a measure to legalize gambling in the country. Senator Eduardo Girão blocked it in the Senate, deciding that the approval of gambling only serves lobbyists.

The bill provides for permanent or temporary licenses for the return of gambling activity to Brazil. It would allow bingo halls, casinos, integrated resorts, and more in order to boost the economy and attract tourism.

If the project is approved as it stands, each state could have a casino, with the exception of Minas Gerais, Amazonas, Pará, and Rio de Janeiro – each would be able to have two. In addition, São Paulo, because of its size, could have three.

Decision Unlikely Before Elections

Brazil had legal casinos before then-President Eurico Gaspar Dutra outlawed gambling in 1946. The topic has reappeared for political debate several times since then, but never as a primary headline.

That has changed in the past two years. Now, gambling is one of the hottest subjects making its way through the bureaucratic maze. However, it isn’t likely that there will be more progress until after the general elections in October.

Even then, there’s no guarantee that approval is coming. Everything depends on who controls the government. President Jair Bolsonaro is looking to retain his position, and he’s a staunch opponent of widespread legalization.

Other candidates, such as former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, are also anti-gambling. Lula de Silva has dealt with a number of controversies during his political career, including one involving alleged extortion of gambling companies.

However, not everyone feels the same and would support legalization. Among those are candidates Pablo Marçal, Felipe d’Avila, and Vera Lúcia. Unfortunately for the gaming industry, none is in a leading position to take over the country. The two most likely to face a run-off are Bolsonaro and Lula de Silva.