Brazil: Senators Push To Approve Law Legalizing Gambling To Finance Health Care Workers' Salaries

Brazil: Senators Push To Approve Law Legalizing Gambling To Finance Health Care Workers' Salaries

Party leaders of the Brazilian Senate met on Monday with the president of the legislative chamber, Rodrigo Pacheco, to evaluate ways of financing the payment of the wage floor for nurses. Among such alternatives, they proposed the approval of the law legalizing gambling in the national territory.

According to the Brazilian Senate’s News Agency, Pacheco proposed the approval of four bills during the meeting, which was conducted virtually. Meanwhile, the proposal to approve the legalization of gambling in Brazil came from other party leaders.

It should be noted that, in August, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro approved an increase in the wage floor for nurses, which was set at 4,750 reais ($ 930) for nurses, 3,325 reais ($ 650) for nursing technicians, and 2,375 reais ($ 465) for nursing assistants and midwives.

However, the increase was suspended for 60 days by the Federal Supreme Court, the period in which the public and private health entities must clarify the financial impact, the risks for employment in the sector, and the possible reduction in the quality of services.

In this context, the possibility of approving Bill 442/91, which legalizes gambling in Brazil, including casinos, bingos, games of chance, and sports betting, was considered. This was proposed in 1991 by the then legislator Renato Vianna, and was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in February this year and awaits its debate in the Upper Chamber.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s President. In this regard, the head of the Senate has expressed on several occasions that this project will be evaluated at the end of the electoral period, which is at the end of October 2022. “It is one of the projects that the leaders asked the presidency to evaluate. As soon as the elections are over, we will evaluate how the project will be handled in the Senate”, said Pacheco at the end of August.

Regarding the bill approved in the Chamber of Deputies, the text foresees the granting of permanent or temporary licenses to operate gambling activities, besides allowing each federal state to have one casino, with the exception of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, which may have two, and Sao Paulo, which may have three casinos.

In addition, the bill states that casinos may be established in resorts as part of an integrated leisure complex, which must contain at least 100 high-end hotel rooms, meeting and event spaces, restaurants, bars, and shopping malls. The physical space of the casino, as stated, must not exceed 20% of the built-up area of the complex, and electronic, roulette, card, and other authorized games may take place.

A novelty with respect to previous versions of the text is the operation of casinos on riverboats, with one for each river between 1.5 thousand km and 2.5 thousand km in length; two for each river between 2.5 thousand km and 3.5 thousand km in length; and three for each river over 3.5 thousand km.

These riverboats may not be anchored in the same place for more than 30 consecutive days, and the concession may be for a maximum of ten establishments. These facilities must have at least 50 high-level rooms, restaurants, bars, and shopping centers, as well as event and meeting spaces.

Rodrigo Pacheco, President of the Brazilian Senate. Bingo and Jogo do Bicho In the case of bingo, the text allows its operation on a permanent basis only in bingo halls, allowing the municipalities and the Federal District to operate these games in stadiums with a capacity for more than 15,000 spectators. According to the text, a maximum of one bingo hall will be accredited for every 150,000 inhabitants and the authorized places will have licenses for 25 years, renewable for an equal period.

These halls will have minimum capital of 10 million reais ($ 1.9 million) and a minimum area of 1,500 square meters, where there may be up to 400 video slot machines. Slot machines will be prohibited, the text adds.

For the legalization of Jogo do Bicho, the text requires that all records of the concessionaire, whether betting or extraction, be informed and accessible in real-time (online) by the Union, through the Audit and Control System (SAC). The accreditation will last for 25 years, renewable for an equal period if the requirements are met.

Interested parties must present minimum capital stock of 10 million reais (USD 1.9 million) and reserve funds in guarantee for the payment of the obligations and duties stipulated in the project, except for the adjudication, which may be in the form of a cash deposit, insurance-guarantee or bank guarantee.

Finally, the text also foresees that if after 12 months from the entry into force of the future law there is no regulation, the provisional operation of video bingo, bingo, and games of chance will be authorized throughout the national territory until the regulation is issued.