DOM 25 DE OCTUBRE DE 2020 - 01:23hs.
José Calisto, AEHSRJ president

“With this pandemic, the legalization of casinos in Brazil would help tourism a lot”

José Calisto is president of AEHSRJ (Association of Employees in Hotels and Similar in Rio de Janeiro) and a supporter of the legalization of casinos and bingos in Brazil. In an exclusive interview with GMB, he says that the benefits of regulating gambling are the biggest motivators to spearhead this fight. 'We will sign petitions and file injunctions with the courts in all its instances and even the STF to support pro-gambling politicians,' he says, and adds that the sector can generate 300k direct jobs and other 300k indirect ones.

GMB - Recently, AEHSRJ posted on its social network a request to legalize gambling. What motivated the entity to do so and what benefits do you think the legalization of gambling can bring to Brazil’s hospitality sector?
José Calisto - What motivated us was to see the benefits for the hotel industry and other related sectors, such as placing 300 thousand workers with CLT in the labor market and another 300 thousand indirectly at once.

The Ministry of Tourism has already spoken about the intention to release casinos in resorts. How does AEHSRJ see the possible decision to have a casino only within resorts?
It is important to legalize casinos in Brazil even if at the first moment it is in resorts, and in a second phase expanding to the rest of the tourist points and others.

How will you drive this initiative forward? How will the entity work to help pro-gambling lawmakers?
We will sign petitions and file injunctions with the courts in all its instances and even in the STF.

Many of the cruises that come to Brazil have activities such as casinos and gambling in general. How do you see this while the legalization of these modalities in the country is left behind by politicians? Which do you think is the intention behind this delay in regulating th activity?
In my view, it is a matter of hypocrisy. Tour ships that have casinos with all types of games have the right to do so while government officials and legislators do not legalize casinos in general in Brazil.

Bingos are a clandestine reality in the country. Do you believe that if they were legalized the sector would generate more jobs and bring advantages to luxury hotels?
Yes, today there are casinos and bingos spread all over Brazil in a clandestine way, and if legalized they would generate jobs and income. It is worth noting that this pandemic had a major impact on the hiring of thousands of workers, who are now unemployed.

Brazil is one of the largest countries in the world in terms of area and population. Do you have an estimate of the number of jobs that this would generate within the hospitality teams?
Around 300 thousand direct and other similar indirect jobs.

With the current pandemic, tourism in Brazil has certainly been affected. Would implanting casinos and releasing games be a measure that would lead the country to grow again economically?
The legalization of casinos in Brazil would certainly help a lot in the tourism issue, especially because of the pandemic. It would be viable for the new post-pandemic reality. I also emphasize the importance of generating employment and income, including the collection of taxes for the federal, State and municipal governments.

Source: Exclusive GMB