DOM 21 DE ABRIL DE 2024 - 17:35hs.
Finance want to create own extension for the sector

Brazil debates use of '.bet' domain on sports betting sites

The Ministry of Finance intends to create its own extension for sports betting and online casino websites in Brazil. The idea is to open the “.bet” domain, which will be used exclusively for companies in the sector and will be before the “.br” in the URLs. The portfolio has already informally consulted the (Ponto BR Information and Coordination Center), body of the Internet Steering Committee in Brazil responsible for creating domains in the country.

If the moves forward, only bookmakers authorized to operate should use the “.bet” extension. The objective is to facilitate the identification of platforms that operate within the law and make it difficult for companies in an irregular situation to act.

The specific domain can help the user to know which companies are authorized to operate in Brazil and prevent bettors from falling for scams or fraud, as well as speeding up inspection and monitoring of possible irregularities.

It is still necessary to define who will manage the domain, that is, who will be responsible for authorizing or not certain websites and saying which addresses belong to regular companies and can be released.

According to people involved in the conversations, the procedure should not face any problems, but there are also those who defend, at Finance, the use of “bets” instead of “bet”.

It is also not defined who will be responsible for managing the online betting houses that will operate in Brazil nor how the supervision of the sector will work in practice.

So far, the expectation is that a large part of these responsibilities will fall on the Ministry of Finance itself and on the Secretariat of Prizes and Bets, recently created and which will centralize these functions.

At the same time, work flows must be created in partnership with other ministries, such as Justice, Sports and Health and bodies such as the Federal Revenue, which will collect taxes.

The Prizes and Betting Secretariat, however, does not yet have a consolidated secretariat

José Francisco Mansur, who was responsible for preparing the government's project to regulate the sector and took care of the matter during the proposal's progress in Congress, was considered certain for the position.

After the project was approved, Mansur drafted the first ordinances and drafts on the regulation of sports betting and began negotiations with companies. The person selected for the secretariat, however, left the government after pressure from Centrão for influence in the body.

The interest of the group led by Arthur Lira is related to the enormous potential financial movement of sports betting and online casinos in the country. Treasury projections estimate between R$3 billion and R$6 billion (US$ 600m to US$1.2bn) in revenue from the sector in 2024, for example.

When Mansur left the government, however, Finance Minister Fernando Haddad denied that his departure was due to political pressure.

"No way. Mansur was here to format the bets project, and it was a very well-run process by him. He is a top quality professional. Upon request, he will face other challenges. But it has nothing to do with it,” he said at the time.

As Folha de S.Paulo showed in the ‘Bets no Brasil’ series, Brazilians spent more than R$50 billion (US$ 10bn) on betting during 2023. Datafolha research showed that 15% of the Brazilian population says they bet or have already bet – mostly young people.

The great economic potential has been attracting giant companies from all over the world to operate in the country. Among those that have already expressed interest to Finance in operating in Brazil, even before the regulations are finalized, are Globo, Kwai and Caixa Econômica, as well as casino operator from Las Vegas, companies with investigated partners or from other sectors, such as real estate.

The online sports betting law provides for a 12% tax rate on sites' revenue, minus the payment of prizes. Bettors must pay 15% of the amount obtained from the prize.

The rule classifies “real sports-themed” events and “virtual online gaming” events as fixed rate bets – a device that includes games, or esports, and opens up opportunities for gambling in a virtual environment.

At the end of February, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) criticized sports betting. “Worse than the jogo do bicho today is that, 24 hours a day, it’s a game on television, a digital game,” said Lula, referring to online betting.

“That’s because casinos are prohibited here. Because casino is a game of chance, jogo do bicho is a game of I don't know how many. But in electronic games, now can play anyone from a 5-year-old child to a 90-year-old person. There's no limit. The order is to play.”