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Brazil fast-tracks new gaming legislation banning online sports betting

Brazilian lawmakers have introduced new legislation which would establish a regulatory framework for gaming in Brazil, although it explicitly bans any form of betting including online.

The bill has similar provisions to those of Senate Bill 186/2014 - another bill introduced this year to legalise various forms of gambling including online - such as the requirements for the establishment of a company in Brazil, fiscal good standing and absence of criminal records.

However, it explicitly bans online betting, including sports betting in general, and includes a closed list of permitted games which would encompass; casino and bingo games, state lotteries and ‘Jogo do Bicho’ – Brazil’s most famous and traditional unauthorised lottery based on numbers and animals.

“Curiously, such games are referred to in the bill as ‘games of fortune’, as opposed to ‘games of chance’ provided in Bill 186/2014,” noted Sao Paolo-based law firm Montgomery & Associados.

Introduced last week, an application has also been made for bill 442/1991 to be granted the status of “conclusive deliberation”, which means the bill would be forwarded directly to the Senate, without needing a vote from the House of Representative’s plenary.

A Special House of Representatives Commission has been appointed to review and update the legislation.

The law firm said that some members of the Commission have already included “rigorous control and audit mechanisms on the exploitation of gaming and betting activities”, believing that this will satisfy the Federal Public Prosecution Service which opposed Bill 186/2014 as it would “foster money laundering activities.”

Montgomery & Associados said that the new bill could potentially “steal the limelight” from the other bill and “become the main piece of legislation relating to the legalization of gaming and betting in Brazil.”

It noted that some of the most prominent supporters of Bill 186/2014 (which was proposed by the Senate), such as Tourism Minister Henrique Alves and Secretary of Government Geddel Vieira Lima, have recently been involved in Operation Car Wash - an investigation being carried out by the country’s Federal Police into money laundering and allegations of corruption at the state-controlled oil company Petrobras.

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