DOM 21 DE ABRIL DE 2024 - 05:18hs.
Debt has been coming since June

MCE defaults on US$6m at Loterj, stops selling Rio de Prémios for a private capitalization bond

Loterj accuses MCE Intermediações e Negócios of not passing on the sales amounts for the ‘Rio de Prêmios’ lottery tickets for almost six months. The total default that the company gave to Loterj has already exceeded R$30 million (US$ 6m). In addition, the Government of RJ alleges that one of its main products, ‘Rio de Prêmios’, stopped being distributed at points of sale in the state and that MCE exchanged the lottery for a private capitalization bond.

After the last draw on Sunday (26), the ‘Rio de Prêmios’ tickets disappeared from the market. In addition to not being able to find tickets at newsstands, customers are also no longer able to obtain information via the internet or social media.

Currently, when someone clicks on the ‘Rio de Prêmios’ website on the Loterj website, the browser goes directly to the website of another product, ‘Cap Mania’. This is a private product, a capitalization bond.

Globo's reporters went to newsstands around Rio trying to buy ‘Rio de Prêmios’ tickets, but only found ‘Cap Mania’ tickets.

This Wednesday (29), Globo bought a ‘Cap Mania’ ticket with a draw scheduled for December 3rd. Like every capitalization bond, this one has an authorization number from the Private Insurance Superintendency. When checking the ticket number on the Susep website, a message warns: "this product can no longer be sold."

By law, a large part of the profit collected by Loterj has to be applied to social projects, schools and daycare centers. With the fight between the Government and MCE, there is currently a private product being sold in the place and space of a public product.

US$ 65 million in revenue

Loterj is one of the oldest state lotteries in Brazil, created in 1944. ‘Rio de Prêmios’, one of its main products, draws every Sunday and pays, in cash, to those who match 20 numbers of the game.

In February 2020, Loterj signed a 5-year contract with MCE Intermediações e Negócios.

With the agreement, MCE was responsible for the administration and operation of the so-called conventional lottery, where ‘Rio de Prêmios’ is located. The estimated revenue until the end of the contract is more than R$318 million (US$ 65m). Of this total, R$121 million (US$ 25m) would remain with the contracted company.

Under the contract, MCE has up to 18 days to transfer the entire amount related to ticket sales to Loterj.

Loterj management says that MCE stopped transferring money from ticket sales in June. According to the government body, all invoices were collected and delays were notified.

Loterj also says that it even contacted the insurance company that guarantees the contract between the two parties. However, Potential Insurance claimed "insurmountable issues that prevented the payment of compensation."

Expert suspects the contract

Lawyer Gustavo Schiefler, a specialist in administrative law, believes that there are flaws in Loterj's contract with MCE. For him, lottery resources should not go through the MCE. Schiefler also said that the contract between the two parties should be suspended after the first month of delay in payment.

"The debt has already accumulated for 5 months, a significant period, given the volume of the contract. Apparently there was no suspension of the contract, to mitigate the risk of damage accumulating. (...) There are several invoices and the guarantee that was provided, the guarantee required is only 2%, which is much lower than the amount that is owed today," argued the lawyer.

The specialist in administrative law also argues that revenue from ticket sales should be directed to a State Government account.

What those mentioned say

In a statement, Loterj informed that the ‘Rio de Prêmios’ was interrupted on Sunday after 16 years, in disagreement with the contract signed with the company MCE. According to them, the change to social media and the website was made without authorization.

Loterj states that the value of the debt has already risen to R$33 million (US$ 6.7m) and that it has provided the State Attorney General's Office with all the documents necessary to open a lawsuit.

MCE said it is in negotiations to pay the debt with Loterj and that 38% of this amount will be deducted, as stipulated in the contract.

MCE also stated that it has no connection with Via Cap or Cap Mania and that it has asked the company that manages the ‘Rio de Prêmios’ website to stop referring users to the ‘Cap Mania’ website.

Regarding the ‘Cap Mania’ ticket purchased on Wednesday (29) by the reporter and which, according to Susep, could no longer be sold, the company Via Cap reported that it published an errata on its website and on social media, which says:

"We inform you that in the title of the edition of the draw that will take place on 12/03/2023 where it says ‘Susep process authorization no 15414.646687/2023-34 you should read "authorization Susep process no. 15414.647552/2023-96’. And where Fundação Abrinq is listed, Apae Brasil should be considered. The correction does not change the prize values or the dynamics of the draw and does not cause any harm to participants."

In contact with TV Globo, Potencial Seguradora alleged "insurmountable issues that prevented the payment of compensation."

Source: Globo