SBC News Haddad pressed to name President of Brazil Bets Secretariat

Haddad pressed to name President of Brazil Bets Secretariat

Pressure mounts on Fernando Haddad, Brazil’s Minister of Finance, to name a President of the Secretariat of Bets and Prizes, an appointment needed to finalise the launch of Brazil’s federal sports betting marketplace.

In Congress, frustration mounts as the Ministry of Finance has yet to publish the final schedule to launch the ‘Bets’ regime as authorised on 2 January by President Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva.

The leadership appointment of the ‘Secretaria de Prêmios e Apostas (SPA)’ is reported to be a stumbling block for Minister Haddad, fraught with political interests in how the Bets regime will be governed.

In February, the Ministry of Finance announced that it had completed plans to establish a ‘Special Secretariat’ to monitor and report on gambling activities.

As detailed by the Ministry’s decree: “SPA will work within the Ministry of Finance to enhance its structure and improve government actions in regulating the fixed-odds betting market, online games, and fulfilling legal duties related to lotteries and commercial promotions.”

The Ministry determined that the SPA’s primary function is to monitor and report on gambling activities. The SPA is also charged with supervising market conduct of licensed operators in which its development will be overseen by “eight governors, each with specific responsibilities related to Brazil’s economic and financial governance”.

Final procedures require the Ministry of Finance to name a President of SPA to lead a team of ’38 experts’ supervising the Bets marketplace.

Upon publishing its announcement, it was believed that Minister Haddad would appoint undersecretary José Francisco Manssur as President of SPA. Manssur was deemed the frontrunner, having served as the principal advisor to the Ministry during the legislative drafting of the Bets regime.

However, Manssur abruptly resigned from office in February following a public fallout with Centrão (Big Centre), a powerful block in Congress supported by Arthur Lira (PP), the sitting President of the Chamber of Deputies.

The fallout is related to Centrão criticising the tax allocation measures of the Bets regime favoured by the Ministry of Finance.

The block is accused of meddling in how SPA will be structured to guarantee a greater influence by the Ministry of Sport – a department led by Andre Fufuca, a member of Centrão and the Progressive Party (PP).

As such, focus turns to Minister Haddad and his forthcoming appointment, as despite its federal approval, bipartisan interests continue to dog the launch of the Bets regime.

Local media reports that Rogério Carvalho, Senator of the state of Sergipe, has proposed his nomination to become the inaugural President of the Secretariat.

However, wanting close control of the Bets regime’s tax allocation model, Haddad favours the appointment of advisor Marcos Barbosa Pinto, the PT government’s current Secretary of Economic Reforms.

The tax framework of the Bets regime continues to divide lawmakers. February proceedings saw the PT government ordered to re-evaluate tax exemptions on a yearly threshold of player prizes/winnings of R$2,112 (€400) – vetoed by Lula on his presidential sign-off of Bets.

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