SEX 19 DE ABRIL DE 2019 - 04:00hs.
Today, in Brasilia

Las Vegas Sands meets Brazilian Ministry of Finance Secretary to discuss IR

The Secretary at the Brazilian Ministry of Finance, Mansueto Almeida, will meet this afternoon in Brasilia with Andy Abboud, senior vice president of government relations for Las Vegas Sands Corporation. The meeting was requested by the international group and the agenda will be the 'Legalization of gaming in integrated resorts'. Lawyers of Estudio Lowenthal and an economist of Fundação Getúlio Vargas accompany Abboud.

The meeting will be held in the Ministry of Fazenda and together with Mansueto will be the Subsecretariat of Fiscal Assistance, Energy and Lottery, Alexandre Manoel Angelo Da Silva, and the technical assessor, Itamar Pereira.

It is not the first time that LVS has arrived to Brazil to convince about integrated resort complexes. Last year the group's own president, Sheldon Adleson, visited the country and met with local authorities. Also members of Las Vegas Sands witnessed the launch of the Parliamentary Front of Gaming, on October of 2017.

Now, this visit occurs at a delicate moment, when Brazilian politicians do not agree on whether it is more convenient to approve the installation of casinos in resorts (possibility that is handled in Deputies) or if it is better to open the gaming industry to the seven modalities included at Bill 186/2014 of the Senate.

The team from Las Vegas Sands, owner of some of the largest integrated resorts in the world, is numerous and Andy Abboud, who traveled especially from the US, will be accompanied by a strong Brazilian leg composed by Fabio Lowenthal (Partner of the Lowenthal Law Firm in Sao Paulo), Henry Lowenthal (Partner and Director of GR8 CAPITAL of the Business Consulting), Camila Barbosa (Camila Barbosa (Government Affairs Manager of Prospectiva Consulting, where she identifies regulatory risks and opportunities in Brazil for multinationals and associations) and Samuel Pessôa (Economist and Professor of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation).

Pessôa is PhD in Economics from the University of São Paulo (USP). He is an Assistant Professor of the Graduate School of Economics at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro (EPGE / FGV) and Head of the Economic Growth Center of the Brazilian Institute of Economics (IBRE / FGV).

"We support a limited and strictly regulated environment for gaming, similar to those in the jurisdictions in which we operate," said Andy Abboud, senior vice president of government relations for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. "Brazil should exploit and adopt the high regulatory standards of Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Macau and Singapore."

Singapore, by the way, is an example of success for LVS. The group invested US$6 billion in a single venture in the country, a city-state of 5.6 million people in Southeast Asia. With 2,500 rooms, Marina Bay Sands is housed in a complex of three 58-story towers, joined by a rooftop Skypark that simulates a gigantic open-air yacht.

According to the LVS, the venture generates US$465 million annually in taxes to the local government and has about 10,000 employees. The number of tourists in the country increased from 9 million in 2010 to 16.5 million in 2017, with Marina Bay and another integrated resort already in operation.

Abboud states that "all kind of gaming, be it bingo, jogo do bicho, or any other form of gambling, should be submitted to the same standards as any other integrated resort the company operates. That said, Las Vegas Sands does not believe in the dilution of the market. Brazil should move slowly, using the regulatory framework of the aforementioned locations and seeing if it is appropriate to expand the market over time."

LVS says it is ready to immediately invest in the country an amount similar to that invested in Singapore after the activity is legalized. The group does not say it openly, but Rio de Janeiro is the favorite to receive the venture, for its tourist vocation and its large population.

"A key component of this [investment] model is the ability to host trade shows and events, so the region that Las Vegas Sands invests in would need a population sufficient to accommodate that kind of business," said Andy Abboud.

Abboud had already met with Rodrigo in Maia in Washington

The issue was raised on January 16 during a meeting of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies president, Rodrigo Maia, with members of the Brazil-US Chamber of Commerce. In Washington, Maia evaluated that the Congress will be able to vote still in the first semester a project that regulates the operation of casinos in Brazil. "I think there's a majority," he said. Las Vegas Sands representative Andy Abboud told reporters that the company and other major US companies are poised to invest "billions" in casinos in Brazil.

Ready to invest billions of dollars in Brazil, the Las Vegas Sands (LVS) group advocates restrictive gambling legislation in the country. LVS owns some of the largest integrated resorts in the world, a gigantic enterprise that integrates luxury hotels with casinos, convention centers, restaurants, shopping malls and leisure areas.

This is also the preferred model of the presidente of the Chamber, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), according to interlocutors. But the format has found the resistance of diverse interests represented, above all, among the deputies themselves.

Source: GMB