Leading gaming attorney Neil Montgomery writes that everything is ready for the final push toward regulating fixed-odds sportsbook betting in Brazilian. Time is of the essence, though, as other gambling liberalisation initiatives are progressing.
Early in December last year, So Paulo prepared for significant advancement in fixed-odds sports betting. Attendees of the industry’s first physical conference in two years eagerly awaited news of implementing the Presidential Decree governing Law No. 13,756/2018.
Fact of SECAP
SECAP, the Evaluation, Planning, Energy, and Lottery Secretariat of the Ministry of the Economy, have led the exercise. And it sent a complete team, led by then-Secretary Brazilian Sportsbook and Gustavo José de Guimares e Souza, which had seemed especially significant.
As a result, the sector didn’t start 2022 with the anticipated update. But should it still be doubtful whether or when this will occur?
According to Law No. 13,756/2018, fixed-odds sportsbook betting rules must be implemented within four years (two years, with the option to extend for an additional two). It indicates that the deadline, set for the end of 2022, is drawing near. The consequences of missing the deadline are unclear. But there are more indications than ever that the Presidential Decree will soon be made public. It’s possible that this will have happened by the time this article is published.
An issue that has generated a lot of controversies has been addressed first. Law No. Initial plans in 13,756/2018 called for a tax with rates of 3% (for online) and 6% (for all other businesses). It based on turnover rather than GGR (for land-based). That issue was resolve last year when the law was changed to use GGR as the basis for calculating taxes.
Second, Secretary Guimares e Souza announced he was leaving SECAP around the time ICE London 2022. It was moved from February to April.
Local media at the time claimed he would work in the private sector, but in February, he started a new job as Parliamentary Secretary at the Brazilian Senate. Sérgio Ricardo Calderini Rosa, the new secretary, is a known liberal who seems inclined. And to implement the regulations as soon as possible.
Third, by delaying ICE until April, SECAP will have more time to complete revising the presidential decree’s text. There are rumours that it has been completed for some time. And will be released before or during the world’s most prestigious betting and gaming exhibition in London.
Fourth, the industry will have six months from the licencing process to begin operations. According to the draught language made available during the previous public consultation rounds organized by SECAP. This indicates that there will be a motivation to implement the regulations before ICE 2022. And given the October Brazilian Presidential Elections and the April slowdown in Congress.
Bill of Law
The Bill of Law No. 442/1991, which seeks to legalise all land-based and online gaming. It is the fifth factor to consider. Sportsbook betting was included in a recent draught of the bill. But it was left out of the version ultimately approved by the House of Deputies in the early morning hours of February 24, 2022.
The rationale behind this choice was that Law No. 13,756/2018 had already legalised betting. It may increase the likelihood that the same legislation will cover fixed-odds betting (which includes both sports and non-sporting events) in the Brazilian sportsbook.
However, it would be preferable if the Presidential Decree had been made public. Many regulatory requirements, obligations, and procedures are introduced in the Bill of Law, many of which may be more stringent than those anticipated in the Presidential Decree.
It is important to note that the law known as 442/1991 places a high standard of compliance and scrutiny on gaming. Betting operators and treats them very similar to banks. According to 442/1991, for instance, the operator might be required to have a paid-up share capital of at least BRL100 billion (£14.46 billion, €17.37 billion, or $19 billion).
Therefore, SECAP should complete its work on the Presidential Decree as soon as possible. So President Bolsonaro can implement it before by-elections overtake him.