Sports Betting in Brazil Draws Attention From 134 Potential Operators

Posted on: December 4, 2023, 08:41h. 

Last updated on: December 9, 2023, 03:02h.

Brazil’s sports betting market could blow the rest out of the water. So far, 134 companies have expressed interest in being part of the country’s gambling industry.

The Christ the Redeemer statue looking over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Christ the Redeemer statue is looking over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sports betting legislation has drawn significant international attention. (Image: Pinterest)

On October 27, the Ministry of Finance in Brazil introduced a measure outlining the general conditions of sports betting operating in the country. This initiative specified that entities interested in acquiring a license must submit a prior expression of interest within 30 days of the announcement.

So far, 134 companies have completed the required form to operate sports betting, with submission flowing into the Ministry of Finance after the initial deadline. The expression of interest is nonbinding, implying that not all companies will obtain a license.

Of the submissions, 52 expressions of interest were presented to the Ministry of Finance almost immediately. They were part of a group that submitted their paperwork in the days following the publication of the measure and the approval of the sports betting bill by the Senate’s Economic Affairs Committee (CAE, for its Portuguese acronym).

Another 82 were submitted post-CAE approval, bringing the cumulative total to 134. For comparison, the U.S. has 40 licensed sportsbooks, with a market worth around $83 billion.

What’s Next?

With an estimated 5-year license cost of BRL30 million (US$6 million), this could generate nearly BRL4 billion (US$813 million) in government revenue from license fees alone. This is in addition to the tax revenue and economic benefits it will receive.

However not all applicants will secure a license. The official licensing process is yet to start because of continued Senate delays in approving the legislation. Once the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies approve the final version of the regulations, licensing scrutiny will begin.

Even then, there are hurdles to jump. As the legislation currently reads, an operator must have a permanent office in Brazil. It may also need to find a local to onboard as a partner. Of the 134 interested companies, it’s likely that at least a few won’t meet these and other requirements.

iGaming, Casino Discussion Still in the Works

While awaiting a Senate vote on the sports betting bill, another gambling legislative proposal, Bill 2234/2022, is up for debate. It addresses various aspects, including resort casinos, bingo parlors, and online gaming.

This bill was scheduled for discussion in the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Commission (CCJ, for its Portuguese acronym) of the Senate last Wednesday. As happened to the sports betting bill, the session concluded before the senators reached the topic.

This legislative proposal has faced delays in the Senate since February 2022 despite receiving initial approval in the Chamber of Deputies in 2018. Senator Davi Alcolumbre, the president of the CCJ, expressed his intention to organize extraordinary sessions this week to address pending agenda items, including Bill 2234/2022.