Jair Bolsonaro is adamant that the Liberal Party will sign-off Brazilian sports betting into federal law, but remains in opposition to wider gambling reforms.
Brazil’s President spoke on federal gambling developments as he continues to campaign for re-election, competing against the Workers Party led by bitter rival Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro – who is blamed for stalling on the Presidential sign-offs required to approve the federal frameworks for gambling and sports betting regimes – gave his clearest indication to date that sports betting will be legislated for in the near future.
Speaking on the Rubro-Negro podcast, he recognised the urgency to approve regimes that have been under evaluation since 2018.
Back in June, Bolsonaro refused to sign-off approved mandates put forward by Brazil’s Senate, in which he contested that legislation contained no assurances that foreign businesses would be liable to pay all domestic taxes.
It is believed that the President purposely stalled his sign-off to strengthen his appeal with Evangelical groups in Congress ahead of October’s General Election.
In the interview, Bolsonaro cited that he was still opposed to the tax framework of the gambling regimes, as the decrees had no explanation on how tax dividends will be distributed to relevant stakeholders.
He explained that the “treasury will collect a lot of money”, but “the issue right now is where that money is going to go, to problem gambling, to security, to infrastructure”.
“We are evaluating it,” he said. “A part can go to the third, second and first division of the soccer championships.”
Questioned on his anti-gambling stance, Bolsonaro stated that he regards “sports betting to be different from games of chance”.
The passage of federal sports betting and gambling bills has divided opinion within the Liberal Party, in which Bolsonaro stated that he would again “veto any bill approved by Congress that seeks to allow a legal market for casinos, bingo halls and games of chance in general”.
He noted: “In Brazil, if gambling is allowed, then there will be a problem. Slot machines in my opinion cannot be legal.
“In my opinion, there is a difference between bets and gambling. I think that Brazil is not yet mature enough to discuss this but congress has a mandate… as stands, I will veto it.”
Brazil will host its Presidential run-off elections on 30 October, which see Lula da Silva and the Workers Party lead, having won the first round of votes on 2 October.
A new government is required to ratify the final regulatory provisions for licensing, taxation policies and technical accreditations.
Though expecting a sign-off on gambling regimes, Brazilian stakeholders are pessimistic that the government will fulfil its orders and launch a sports betting market ahead of this winter‘s World Cup 2022.