QUA 17 DE OUTUBRO DE 2018 - 15:16hs.
Murillo Akio Arakaki, Hotel and Tourism Commission of OAB/SP President

"Gaming bills are mature and Brazil needs this change"

(Exclusive GMB) - The Order of Lawyers of Brazil (OAB) of São Paulo promotes tomorrows (Saturday) the 1st Congress of Law Applied to Hospitality and Tourism that, among the attractions, will have a panel on the legalization of casinos in Brazil. GMB interviewed attorney Murillo Akio Arakaki, President of the Law Commission applied to Hospitality and Tourism of the OAB/SP, who spoke of his expectations for the event, the impact of gaming regulation in the economy.

GMB - Tell us about your work at the Arakaki Law Firm and the Direct Committee applied in Hospitality and Tourism at OAB-SP. What is your function and what causes have you defended?
Murillo Akio ArakakiI - work as a managing partner at Arakaki Advogados and I am the President of the Law Commission applied to Hospitality and Tourism of OAB / SP. Within Arakaki Advogados, I advise hotel establishments (hotels, resorts, condo-hotels, inns, etc) on exclusive legal issues of the sector focused on hotel tax planning, for maximum reduction of taxes on business activity. In turn, my partner Maria José de Souza Arakaki works in the Real Estate Law and Hotel Contract, for all legal structure necessary for the proper exercise of the hotel business. Arakaki Advogados has been working to become, after the legalization of gaming in Brazil, a specialist in the area, in order to give legal advice to future Brazilian casinos to comply with all the rules imposed by the Legislative and Executive Powers.

In the Law Commission applied to Hospitality and Tourism of OAB / SP, we work to identify legal issues related to the sector, discuss its controversial aspects and elaborate opinions (unanimous or otherwise) on the subject. We assisted the Board of the OAB / SP in the manifestation of laws and bills, as well as in proposing judicial measures related to the sector. We prepared opinions on draft laws in progress, as well as drafts of new bills related to the sector. We have already discussed in the Commission: accessibility in hotel rooms, ECAD, partial illegality of electric hotel taxation, Digital Law in hotels, among other topics. There has not yet been an in-depth discussion on the legalization of casinos in the Commission, but I intend to insert the topic in the agenda of the meeting in 2018, given that the bills that deal with this matter are moving towards effective approval by the Legislative Branch.

How did the idea of OAB to organize the 1st Congress of Applied Hotel and Tourism Law arise and how important is to discuss the issue of legalization of casinos?
The idea of organizing the First Congress of Law Applied to Hospitality and Tourism of the OAB / SP came from a conversation held by Dr. Maria José de Souza Arakaki (Vice-President of the Commission) and myself, and we obtained the approval of the members of the commission and of the Board of Directors of OAB / SP for its execution. I believe that the importance of dealing with the legalization of casinos under a juridical aspect is essential for society, given the need to demystify the bills that deal with the subject in order to transform the texts that are processed in the National Congress into information easily understood by the public. Many people have a position for or against the legalization of gaming, but without understanding the whole context behind the discussion.

What is your expectation for the panel on Legalization of Casinos, where you will discuss the topic with two more colleagues?
Firstly, I would like to inform that the panel has been reformulated, so that I will be a panelist along with Elenice Zaparoli, who is the National Events Director of the São Paulo Convention and Visitors Bureau. I am very excited about the panel, I believe it will be the opportunity to discuss the issue with interested lawyers and hoteliers and anticipate possible issues before the law is enacted.

Based on your experience and studies, what is the main contribution that casinos can give to Brazil with its legalization? What model for casino exploration could work better in the country?
In my perspective, there is no doubt that the casinos will contribute with the collection of taxes, increase of the jobs, incentive to the tourism and development of the country. In addition to attracting foreign investors. I believe that the current drafting of PLS bills 186/2014 and PL 442/91 create a model of Brazilian own exploitation, but without disregarding the vast experience of foreign legislation. It is necessary to take advantage of the good fruits of this legalization, but it is also necessary to establish rules to combat the crime of money laundering and to create campaigns for responsible gambling.

Besides casinos, what is your position regarding the legalization of all segments of gaming in Brazil? Have you followed the process of drafting bills in Congress? Do you think there will be a law later this year?
In general, I am in favor of kind of games included in both PLS nº 186/2014 and PL 442/91. However, I have a special concern with online gaming, given the great difficulty of conducting investigations of crimes committed by the Internet and by exploiting this type of games. I have been following the bills for some time and I am glad that the text has evolved so much. The current drafts are very complete and have modified some of the existing illegalities. Regarding tax matters, I expressed my opinion on the exclusion of the premium amount from the Contribution calculation base created by PLS nº 186/2014, which was fortunately accepted and inserted in art. 34, paragraph 1 of said project. Unfortunately, I do not think we'll have bill approval this year, but I expect the bill to come out in 2018.

From the legal point of view, after the approval of the gaming law, by what legal steps will the country have to go through to provide certainty and ensure that investors actually come to participate in the gaming industry in Brazil? How soon should this process be finalized?
After the enactment of a law allowing the activity in Brazil, it will be necessary to regulate them by the Executive Branch, that is, to issue a decree that describes the minutiae of games exploration, such as criteria for accreditation, control, supervision, selection, collection of tributes, mode of control of the players, among others. Subsequently, and after all the related bodies create their internal procedures, the bidding procedure will be initiated to select the companies that will be able to explore the business. The time for all these procedures to be finalized will depend very much on political will, that is, unfortunately it is not possible to foresee it.

More broadly, what is your perspective on the gaming market in Brazil? Do you think that soon there will be a new economic activity generating poitive results for the country?
My perspective is that the legalization of games of chance will bring good results to the country. The texts of the draft laws are mature for approval and Brazil needs this change to improve the collection of taxes, generate jobs and encourage Brazilian tourism. In addition to the residents of the country, this legalization will attract more foreign tourists, which is excellent for our economy and will contribute to the spread of Brazil in the world.

Source: GMB Exclusive