Brazil’s IBGR lambasts Lula administration’s betting tax ‘burden’

Brazil Deputies reauthorise casino modalities for Lula’s final sign-off  

Brazil will launch a federal sports betting marketplace, which will include modalities to regulate online casino games.

Yesterday, the final session of the Chamber of Deputies approved Bill PL3626/23 to be sent for its federal sign-off from President Lula da Silva. 

Bill PL3626/23 was returned to the Chamber of Deputies on 13 December following an inconclusive review by the Senate, which could not settle long-standing disputes on maintaining online casino games, opposed by Senators of the Liberal Party.

The Senate returned the Bill, excluding online casino modalities, demanding that Deputies review over 100 changes to the legislation’s text since its submission for legislative review of federal modalities by Senate committees.

Yesterday, during the final voting session, Evangelical deputies, in alliance with the opposition, attempted to eliminate the provision concerning online games. However, their efforts were unsuccessful as a majority of 261 deputies voted in favour of retaining online games, while 120 voted against it. 

As reported by the Chambers’ camera: “The proposal approved by the Chamber reestablished, however, the authorisation of betting for virtual online gaming events, the so-called online casinos, which had been removed from the text by the senators.”

The Chamber’s ‘Evangelical bench’ stated that they would demand Lula to remove casino modalities as the Bill enters its Presidential sign-off. The bench seeks to repeat the final events of late 2022 which saw former President Jair Bolsonaro refuse to sign sports betting into law. 

The fiscal and tax structures proposed by the Brazilian Senate’s Economic Affairs Commission (CAE) were retained. In this arrangement, licensed operators in Brazil’s federal market will be subject to a 12% tax, while player prizes will incur a 15% tax.

From the income generated, 2% will be allocated to social security. Additionally, the sectors of sports and tourism will receive 6.63% and 5% of the revenue, respectively. 

For licensing, operators must pay BRL 30m (approximately €5.5m) to obtain a federal licence valid for five years. This licence permits the operation of up to three brands. 

Requirements for all businesses, whether foreign or domestic, include establishing a domiciled presence in Brazil and appointing a legal guardian.

Betting will be managed by companies authorised by the Ministry of Finance, meeting certain requirements, including a Brazilian member on their board with at least a 20% share capital. 

Prior to yesterday’s proceedings, the Ministry informed that 134 businesses had filed their pre-market ordinance measures expressing interest to join Brazil’s pending online gambling marketplace.

The governance of Brazil’s federal sports betting market will be overseen by the Ministry of Finance, which will establish dedicated supervision for standards, conduct and consumer protections.  

Final procedures saw Chambers agree on advertising and sports integrity duties, in which businesses must “emphasise responsible gambling and include warnings about its potential harm. Advertising that portrays gambling as socially attractive is prohibited.”

To safeguard the integrity of sports, the legislation prohibits individuals under 18, those diagnosed with gambling disorders, anyone with influence over sporting events or the gaming platform, and key sports personnel such as directors, coaches, referees, agents, and athletes from participating in betting activities.

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