Commission votes against Brazil gambling reform bill

Proponents of a regulated iGaming market in Brazil suffered a setback Wednesday after the country’s Comisión de Constitución, Justicia y Ciudadanía (CCJ) parliamentary commission voted against Senate Bill 186/2014.

The Commission rejected the bill by a vote of 13-2 in yet another setback for the proposal first introduced by Senator Ciro Nogueira four years ago, which has since been amended by Senator Benedito de Lira to legalise various forms of gambling.

"We are here to establish a regulatory framework for the gambling industry," Benedito de Lira explained before members of the Commission Wednesday.

He told opponents of legalised gambling that their concerns would be addressed at a later stage when regulating the law.

"I cannot understand why you fear legalisation,” he said. “We only want to legalise an economic activity".

The vote against the bill comes after the country's Ministry of Tourism introduced a competing legislative proposal to legalise integrated land-based casino resorts, but leave online gaming prohibited.

It proposes the construction of up to ten casinos in the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with gaming facilities operating as part of larger resorts such as those found in Las Vegas and Macau.

Brazil-based gaming consultancy BetConsult told Gaming Intelligence that Wednesday’s vote does not mark the end of Senate Bill 186/2014.

“It can still be voted in the Senate's Plenary as CCJ meetings have no definitive nature,” said BetConsult president Edgar Lenzi. “All it takes for a plenary vote is a requirement proposed by a Senator.”

He warned however that this was unlikely to happen this year due to the upcoming General Elections in October, and as a result of the recent initiative by the Ministry of Tourism.

“Some Senators changed their minds last minute,” added Lenzi. “A number of federal deputies who support the Ministry of Tourism's casinos-only initiative were spotted at the CCJ meeting and it is rumoured that these last minute changes had to do with a manoeuvre by these deputies to garner support for their proposal.

“The Tourism bill has an urgency request which has not been voted on yet. It is still on the agenda for vote so it can happen at any time.”


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