Sports betting is dead in Brazil now that Jair Bolsonaro did not sign the legislation before its expiration date. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Years of work in the abyss
Brazilian sports betting is dead again as President Jair Bolsonaro fails to sign the regulations before they expire on Monday.
The extension deadline expired on Monday, December 12th
The largest country in South America has been trying to create a legal sports betting market for years. Federal Law 13756/2018 passed four years ago, leaving the government two years (plus another two years, if necessary), to pass regulations on online and in-person sports betting. The extension deadline expired on Monday, December 12, 2022.
Failing to adopt legislation would be one of Bolsonaro’s last steps in office. He has already lost the presidential election to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and will be fired at the beginning of the year.
Brazil is still without sports betting
There was optimism that the Bolsonaro-led regime would finally bring fixed odds betting to Brazil. Earlier this year, the Secretariat for Evaluation, Planning, Energy, and Lotteries (SECAP) published a plan for the market, which included a $4.4 million licensing fee. It was all in vain, as sports betting has now returned to the drawing board.
The emergence of illegal operators has become a nuisance
The incoming President of Brazil, known as “Lulu”, will have to take charge of the chaotic situation. Bolsonaro has, first and foremost, a fanatical following that caused chaos in the country in the wake of the election results, including a recent riot-like attack on a police headquarters on January 6.
Most forms of gambling are also currently prohibited by Brazilian law, but as in many other countries around the world, the emergence of illegal operators has become a headache for officials.
The only forms of legal gambling, such as they are, are state-run lotteries and horse racing betting. However, overseas sportsbooks have managed to avoid persecution by resting in many of the gray areas in current Brazilian law, which is another reason the country is looking toward passing new legislation.
Despite the recent failure in government, Brazilian-owned operators may be able to join the sports betting market with an imminent move to end Caixa Econômica Federal’s monopoly on the lottery. The details can get messy, though.
A reason for hope
A plan passed by both houses of the Brazilian legislature calls for the creation of a health lottery and a tourism lottery, which would send proceeds from lottery sales to two state funds.
It could open the door for Brazilian companies to replace their counterparts abroad
Private lotteries may be able to offer fixed odds betting with the new plan, although this is not a guarantee. If that happens, it could open the door for Brazilian companies to replace their overseas counterparts in providing betting odds to the public.
The country is also making serious strides in other areas of gambling. House Bill 442/1991, approved in February, would legalize casino, online gaming, slot machines, bingo and juju de pichu, and expand markets for horse racing betting.
Foreign operators will be banned under the bill. License holders would need to be located in Brazil, thus returning autonomy to the Brazilian people.
Brazil have already missed an opportunity to lead the betting on participation during the World Cup, as their team was favored to win the competition. However, the quarter-final exit to Croatia ensures that no matter how quickly legislation is adopted, locals will need to wait another four years to support their team in the tournament.