GMB - What is your position regarding the legalization of casinos in Brazil? And what about the rest of gambling modalities?
Eliane Sinhasique - I am totally in favor of the legalization of casinos in Brazil. Not legalizing is hypocrisy! Man, in essence, is a being who likes the game, the contest, the bet, the competition and every day we play! We played at the Mega-Sena, the lottery, the football games, we bet on the draws, on church bingos, we play cards in family, the domino with friends, the computer. Not to legalize casinos is to continue to place gambling in an unnecessary and harmful underground for the promotion of business, tourism, entertainment and government revenue.
Could casinos benefit tourism in your state?
I strongly believe that the existence of casinos in Acre would be one of the ways to attract tourists to the heart of the Amazonian rainforest. It would also be a way to “hold” local people in the state so that they don’t travel to Bolivian and Peruvian casinos.
What is your opinion on the issue that casinos should only be allowed at resorts? Or do you think that independent casinos out of major hotels should also be released?
Casinos need to be well structured. Casinos must have glamor and a group of other jobs and income-generating services like shows, events and gastronomy. Whether this is within a resort or not, it is what weighs the least on the existence of this business.
What cities could host casinos in the state?
In Acre I think we could have casinos in Rio Branco, the state capital, in Cruzeiro do Sul in the Juruá Valley and in Brasiléia or Assis Brasil in Alto Acre.
Do you know the position of most of your fellow tourism secretaries from other states on the subject of casinos in Brazil?
Most of the secretaries in the Northern region, whom I have been talking with, also believe that casinos can help our region to attract tourists. It is not enough just to have one of the largest bio diversities on the planet, charming indigenous villages, folklore and a magnificent history! We need something more so that tourists feel the need to come back and spend their money in our region. Casinos around here would add more value to our natural beauty!
Have you been following what happens in the Chambers of Deputies and Senators with the gambling legalization laws? Do you believe there will be news on this topic this year?
This issue of casinos is controversial and, unfortunately, most of our representatives in the House and Senate are afraid to touch on controversial issues thinking they will lose the electorate. They discuss, debate and shelter projects that can generate jobs and income for the Brazilian people just for fear of "stain their puritan images." The casino legalization project needs to be faster! Time is ticking and clandestine casinos are failing to surrender resources to the state, while they could also be creating jobs if they didn't live in the black market. As I said, it's a lot of hypocrisy thinking that not legalizing casinos will fight compulsive gambling! Local games such as the Mega-Sena, the lotofácil, lotomania, double sena, lotogol, loteca are gambling institutionalized by the federal government!
Besides that, we have online gaming, playing cards with friends at home, the bingo, all that are games! Those who are compulsive need treatment like any drug user, but it is not because of a dozen compulsives who have already lost everything at a table, or that all other players can be seen as a harm to society. Quite the opposite! Those who enjoy fun and games will spend their money on legalized or non-legalized casinos anyway.
Have you been contacted or visited by international casino groups interested on investing in the state when there are regulations?
When investors know that there is no legality to their business in a state or country they don't even look for it! I'm sure that if casinos are released and legalized for the Amazon region, they will come!
Have you considered traveling to Las Vegas or some other city to analyze the economic benefits of casinos for the state?
I've been in Las Vegas in 2011 and also visited Lima, Peru, in 2015. I was impressed with the amount of people employed in these places! Not only is the game at stake! It is the dressing room assistant, artists, musicians, singers, actors, waiters, cooks, security guards, makeup artists, costume designers, sound operators, light, stage, coaches, recreationists, chambermaids, radio and TV investments, commercial productions, language interpreters, etc. It is a huge range of different jobs that is open to the people and that, in these places, is not wasted!
Source: Exclusive Games Magazine Brasil