On this Thursday (28) afternoon, took place the first webinar of the Live Series division of GMB “AGORA BRASIL” cycle, in which important international gaming personalities debated about the topic of “Casinos as a new resource to overcome the crisis ” post-pandemic. With the support of Clarion Events, the event made clear the importance of regulating the gaming market in Brazil to face the recovery of the economy after the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
The webinar brought together Newton Cardoso Júnior, federal deputy and president of the Federal Chamber's Tourism Commission; Johnny Ortiz, founder and president of Zitro, one of the world leaders in the manufacture of slots, video bingo and interactive games; Alex Pariente, vice president senior in Casino Operations at Hard Rock International and with an extensive experience in the casino area; and Pedro Cortés, specialist in gaming and senior partner at Rato, Ling, Lei e Cortés Advogados, a company with over 30 years of experience in Macau in legal aspects of the gaming sector. The webinar was moderated by Witoldo Hendrich Júnior, founding partner of Hendrich Advogados and Online IPS Brazil, a global payment solution company and gaming regulation specialist.
Carlos Cardama, CEO of GMB and creator of the debate cycle, opened the webinar highlighting the importance of the regulation of gaming in Brazil and how much the activity can increase revenues for the government and jobs for the country, especially at this very moment of the economy affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. "We hope to bring our contribution with this cycle of debates, and also ask the government to give us the opportunity to offer Brazil jobs and taxes. With the end of COVID-19, the gaming sector has great conditions to collaborate with the economy.”
Eliane Nunes, from Clarion Events and presenter of the meeting, welcomed everyone and opened the floor to the speakers, recalling the importance of the theme at a time of so many difficulties caused by the pandemic.
Newton Cardoso said that the approval of casinos in Brazil will be a factor of great importance for the economy by the generation of taxes and thousands of jobs, especially after the end of the quarantine determined by the pandemic. “The Federal Chamber's Tourism Commission is totally in favor of regulating the gaming sector in the country. Brazil is fully prepared, and we have a legal, economic and control structure for opening casinos.”
Alex Pariente commented that it is time for Brazil to have a regulatory framework for gaming, in order to generate more tourism, taxes and jobs. “We have to recognize that there is a broad market to be developed in Brazil. When casino resorts are deployed, the investment meets a global tourist demand. The reactivation of the regional economy is a milestone when implementing casinos.”
According to the executive of Hard Rock International, "in addition to the development of regional tourism, with casinos there is a high increase in other related activities, bringing wealth to the region and generating high amounts in taxes and jobs". Pariente compared the installation of casinos in Macau and Singapore, where the opening of the market substantially increased the entry of tourists. According to him, all large corporations are looking for well-regulated markets to make their investments, and Brazil has all the conditions to attract such investors.
Pedro Cortés commented that Macau is currently closed to tourists and this has impacted the local economy, unlike Las Vegas, where gambling is an attractive, while in the special region of China the predominant activity is the operation of casinos. “Brazil is a continent and must be seen with this greatness. In this sense, we must move forward on the topic and not limit ourselves to IRC’s.”
Johnny Ortiz welcomed the work of deputy Newton Cardoso, who worked on a segment still little known to Brazilians and that, unfortunately, the country exported it to develop its activities in other regions. “It is absurd for me to have to leave my country to be successful abroad, despite having the opportunity to do that in Brazil, offering jobs and taxes in the country. All over the world gaming is well controlled, with online controls, and in Brazil it will be no different.”
According to Ortiz, with compliance, any operation in Brazil will be very well controlled internally and externally. "The current problem in Brazil is the discussion only of opening large IRC’s, whose investments take time and with generation of jobs and taxes much lower than the broader regulation of the whole gaming market in the country. For this reason, I advocate for a wider opening."
Returning to deputy Newton Cardoso, Witoldo asked how to show his peers in the National Congress and society that casinos are not what Hollywood shows in films, in which gangsters bury their enemies in the desert. The deputy said that just being in favor of legal gambling is enough to combat illegal gambling. "Serious businessmen do not want to mix up in a black market and we need to convince parliamentarians and society that gambling is an economic activity like any other and that, if properly regulated, it will only benefit the country."
Pariente said that all sectors of the industry need to have a very clear regulatory framework and, to move forward, this is essential, not only for big IRC’s but also for other gaming activities. “When talking about a milestone, one must think about responsibility, compliance and fair licenses for all operations. Everyone should keep in mind that clear laws can generate excellent opportunities for Brazil,” he said, recalling that crises create opportunities and the COVID-19 pandemic should open up great prospects for the gaming sector, as a way to reactivate the economy. “We have several projects under discussion in the northeastern region of Brazil, as well as in Florianópolis, with the Petry Arena. With local partners, we can meet different business possibilities to bring our brand to the country and collaborate with the generation of taxes and jobs.”
Cortés explained that in Macau there are specific licenses for suppliers of machines, enterprises as a whole and even card dealers. “In Brazil it is possible to have small casinos in some regions and large IRC’s in others, as well as different possibilities of games, not restricting the activity to the casinos, and working on appropriate licenses for each sector. Tourism will benefit and the local communities, too. There is room for all the demands of games,” he said, emphasizing that risks and opportunities go together and that the risks of the pandemic for the Brazilian economy offer opportunities for opening the gaming sector.
When asked about the possibility of Zitro bringing a unit to Brazil, Johnny said that he will not only return to live in the country but will also establish a branch of the company. “As you well questioned, gaming requires manufacturers of so many products, such as furniture, cutlery, TV monitors and many others. Today we have 300 engineers in our European unit, which demonstrates our strength as a company that generates jobs. With the opening of gaming, the flow of tourists would increase substantially. Today we have about 6 million tourists traveling to Brazil, while France attracts 80 million and Andorra, a small country stuck in Europe, more than 12 million. With the opening of the gaming sector, we can overcome all these countries,” he said, reinforcing that “the regulatory framework must be discussed urgently so that we don’t take another four or five years to approve the activity. When the bingos closed, there were 80,000 legal machines while today there are more than 500,000 illegal ones, which do not generate taxes. Zitro wants to bring its expertise to Brazil and offer thousands of jobs and high taxes.”
Asked by Witoldo about the demand for rooms in the event of the opening of large IRC’s, Pariente said that “the strategy is that the place should have a master plan to organize the hotel sector and attract partners to work together. Gaming is a tool for attracting tourists and it can be extended to other hotels in the surroundings areas.”
Johnny left as a message that “Brazil is wonderful, and our greatest wealth is the people. We have an exuberance for tourism and gaming has a high capacity to attract investments, not only from operators, but also from different suppliers. What the government must analyze very well is the question of the tax, which is very high. Brazil is mature enough to understand that gaming is good for the country.”
In his final remarks, Pedro Cortés stated that "Brazil has been moving properly, but it needs to streamline and finalize the discussions so that all the benefits expected from the implementation of the activity in the country collaborate with the recovery of the economy."
Pariente said that the gaming sector has given endless opportunities for companies like Zitro and Hard Rock to grow and “we want to walk together with Brazil in the development of a strong economic segment, prepared to offer jobs and taxes to the country, helping in the resumption of the economy after the pandemic.”
The next webinar of the GMB Live Series division of the “AGORA BRASIL” cycle will take place on June 25, about the topic “Sports betting: building regulations so that everyone wins”, with the confirmed participation of Waldir Eustáquio Marques Júnior, Under Secretary of Prizes and Draws of the Ministry of Economy. Write it down in your calendar.
Source: Exclusive Games Magazine Brasil