Brazil Senate President vows to bring gambling legislation to debate

Hopes for legal online gambling in Brazil have again been raised after the President of the country's Federal Senate announced that the legislative house will consider the matter, though disagreements over the distribution of gaming taxes are already emerging.

Senate President Eunicio Oliviera said Tuesday (November 7th) that he will include the legalisation and regulation of gambling on the Senate's plenary agenda, as it looks at ways to generate additional public funds.

The Senate will debate PLS 186/2014, a bill drafted by Senator Ciro Nogueira that looks to legalise various forms of online gambling, during the current legislative session.

Nogueira's bill has secured support from Senator Benedito de Lira, who has amended the text to legalise bingo, video bingo, sports and non-sports betting, online casinos, casino resorts and the popular animal-based lottery game Jogo de Bicho for an 18-year period.

De Lira's amended bill proposes a tax of between 10 and 20 per cent of revenue for licensees, with the federal government allocating 30 per cent of the proceeds to Brazil's municipalities, and a further 30 per cent to states.

However, one of Oliveira's conditions for moving the legislation forward is that the funds should not be directed to the treasury and should instead go directly towards public security, welfare and health initiatives.

De Lira, on the other hand, believes that the dire state of the budget means the money should go to the treasury as normal.

"In view of the extremely serious budgetary situation of the federated entities, it is urgent that the new resources collected be shared in a similar way to other taxes," he said.

He offered a concession, however, suggesting that the legislation make it compulsory for funds derived from gambling be used for public security, health and welfare.

This bill was originally expected to go before the Senate in December last year, only for the hearing to be delayed indefinitely due to opposition from a number of lawmakers. It was also opposed by government bodies such as the Federal Tax Authority, Public Prosecutor's Office, and the Attorney General.

The bill is currently before the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Committee, which may vote on the bill next week.


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