TER 18 DE JUNHO DE 2019 - 10:15hs.
‘Correio Braziliense’ newspaper article

Lack of money pushes Congress to resume debate on gaming in Brazil

The need for new sources of revenue will give the push that Congress needs to resume the debate on the legalization of gambling. The movements of lobbyists entered the scene of the debates on the Federative Pact, led by the Joint Parliamentary Front for the approval of the Regulatory Framework of Gaming in Brazil, all with the support of the government's economic team. For President Jair Bolsonaro, 'it is up to Parliament to define on the subject.'

The potential for collecting with casino games is relevant. A study carried out by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) at the request of the Ministry of Finance in 2015, points out that, with due regulation for all modalities and a favorable environment for development, the sector can move R$ 174.7 billion (US$ 45bn), with estimated collection of R$ 58.8 billion (US$ 15bn) per year.

The issue came up two weeks ago at a meeting in the Ministry of Economy between members of the Executive - including the Secretary of Government of the Presidency of the Republic - and congressmen of the Joint Parliamentary Front in Defense of the Federative Pact. The ruling party assessed that it could not comply with the 1% increase in resources from the Federal Government to the Municipal Participation Fund (FPM) in the first ten days of September, a month in which the fund historically registered a decrease in the transfer to municipalities.

The suggestion made by the economic team was to discuss the transfer of "new money". There, they dealt with the distribution of resources from the payment of 30% of the subscription bonus of the ‘pre-salt’ auction to states and municipalities. The measure was incorporated into the substitute of PEC 34/2019, approved in the Chamber. And they also talked about gaming. The Ministry of the Economy follows the guidance of President Jair Bolsonaro, who said in April that it is up to the Parliament to pronounce on the subject.

The legalization of the gaming activity was proposed by the economic team thinking on a Federative Pact in the medium and long term. From there, information began to circulate through Congress and members of the bench in defense of the approval of the regulatory framework of gaming engaged in a joint that involves discussion with governors and mayors. The governor of Minas Gerais, Romeu Zema (Novo), has sent secretaries to speak with members of the front, chaired by Deputy João Carlos Bacelar (Podemos-BA). Deputies from the bench will meet with the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Crivella (PRB-RJ), to discuss the matter.

The mayor would have called the members of the Front for the conversation, since legalization can provide revenue for the municipality in serious fiscal crisis. The front identifies in him someone who will help in the pressure on the mayor, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), to guide PL 442/1991, which legalizes the activity. The text is ready to be placed on the agenda, but Maia is contrary to the matter which, for some, provides for a more liberal legalization. Maia is a defender of the release of casinos in resorts, an agenda advocated by Tourism Minister Marcelo Álvaro Antônio. The theme, however, is not a priority at the moment.

The liberation as proposed by PL 442/91 is controversial and it is not unanimity among the members of the group presided over by the parliamentarian. Deputy Eduardo Bismarck (PDT-CE), another member of the front, agrees that it is necessary to discuss the legalization, but without the local popular ‘jogo do bicho’. "I do not feel comfortable releasing this modality. But if the rich can have access to the casinos, the poor must have it too. I think the debate can start with the kick-off of games in hotels and resorts," he says.

Regulation

Despite the endorsement of the economic team, proposing the legalization of gaming by PL 442 is not recommendable for the current moment of the country, warns the head of the Secretariat for Fiscal, Energy and Lottery Monitoring (Sefel) of the Ministry of Economy, Alexandre Manoel. "We do not have an adequate regulatory structure, with a career of its own, to liberalize every gaming modality." The portfolio has 17 technicians to discuss the lottery market and trade promotion.

The president of the Brazilian Legal Gaming Institute, Magno José Santos, argues that the collection with the liberation of various gaming modalities can provide the financing of the regulatory structure. "We are talking about a generation potential of 1.3 million jobs. We cannot legalize only one or two options and leave others in crime, thus we are not going to foment truly criminal structures like militias, "he says.

Academic Coordinator of the Executive Program FGV / FIFA / CIES in Sports Management and only Brazilian member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA), Pedro Trengrouse is in favor of PL 442. "It would be a great advance for Brazil. Even though there are important points to be reviewed in a deeper technical discussion, which will certainly happen in the Senate, it is important to move forward on this issue so that we can finally regulate the gaming market in the country. The path is moving, and approval of the text would be a good step," he says.

"Federetive-betting" Pact

In the wake of the discussion of the distribution of resources between the Union, states and municipalities, Congress will intensify debates on the legalization of gambling. Check out six arguments against the measure and their counter-arguments:

False moralism: people play. Twenty million Brazilians bet on the centennial jogo do bicho every day. Ten million bet on the internet every day and in sports betting. There are also bingos and draw in religious entities. About 300,000 travel every year to play in other countries.

Legal Tradition
Legislation: Between the 17th and the mid-20th centuries, there was a progressive liberation of the activity. The turnaround occurred in the 1940s, and today the federal government discusses the privatization of the instant lottery, Lotex. The State itself is convinced of the anachronism of the prohibition.

Social Protection
Pathology: About 97% of players do not have problems with gambling. Of the remaining 3%, 1% is serious. From 0.1% to 2% are considered pathological.

Comparative law
Prohibition: Brazil is one of the few countries that prohibits the exploitation of gaming. There are several successful models, such as the United States, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Gambling is legalized and regulated in 97% of the OECD nations, and in 93% of the G-20 countries.

Regulation
Collection: The collection of taxes can finance a regulatory agency capable of maintaining the structure of control, regulation and supervision. With proper regulations for all modalities and a favorable environment for development, the market can move annually to R$ 174.7 billion (US$ 45bn), with per capita bets totaling R$ 765.73 (US$ 197.25), and tax collection of R $ 58.78 billion (US$ 15bn) per year.

Games of Chance
Probability: The chance to win the Mega-Sena with a simple six-figure game is one in 50 million, approximately. The chance to win on a European casino roulette with a bet on a number is one in 37. The possibility of winning a prize in instant lotteries is about one in three. In Brazil, it was one in five. In the case of the maximum prize, in general, it is about one in 1 million. In the country, the Caixa’s emission plan predicted the maximum prize to one in 6 million.


Source: GMB / Correio Braziliense / FGV/Fifa/Cies, Instituto Brasileiro Jogo Legal, American Gaming Association (AGA) e Jantalia & Valadares Advogados