The main issue for the sports betting market in the LatAm region this week was related to the way Brazil reacted to the lack of regulation of its ‘fixed odds’ bets, given that the topic has remained undefined after the silence of Jair Bolsonaro’s government.
The Executive did not regulate the modality as planned and, according to what was pointed out by specialists in gaming law, “operations will continue as usual for offshore platforms.”
The deadline for the Executive Power’s regulation expired at the beginning of this week, and the President did not sign the regulation. Today, with the deadline expired, Article 29 of Law 13,756/18, which instituted the fixed odds betting modality, is still valid and operates in full force and effect.
According to the Brazilian portal BNLData, during the debates held at a recent seminar promoted by the OAB/DF Gaming Law Commission, most of the lawyers pointed out that nothing changes for international operators, who will continue to work without the need to pay taxes and submit to Brazilian legislation.
However, the experts did not venture a legal solution to guarantee that land-based operators can operate safely, due to the fact that the activity is described in the legislation as a “lottery modality, in the form of an exclusive public service of the Union”.
Therefore, it is an unregulated public service, and operating within Brazil may entail great risks for entrepreneurs.
BNLData highlighted that at least two national operators are studying a way to legalize and guarantee land-based operations, based on Law 13.756/18.
What cannot be denied is that today in Brazil there is a social fact regarding sports betting, through a very active market (especially with the Qatar World Cup underway), with almost a thousand online and land-based operators that although they collect revenues, do not pay taxes.
“The Government needs to understand that regulation is the best way to protect citizens from the harmful effects of unregulated gambling”, BNL stated, assuring that the mission of regulating the sector will remain in the hands of the next Government, but with some doubts: Will this modality continue with the future Ministry of Finance, which will take office in a little over two weeks? Will the initiatives developed by the Undersecretary of Gaming and Commercial Promotion of the Ministry of Economy be used, or will a new model be thought of, and will the concept of the drafts prepared by the Ministry of Economy be used?
Nobody knows. The issue was once again bogged down in unfulfilled promises by countless governments in Brazil, which have failed to adequately regulate not only sports betting, but also the industry’s offerings as a whole, missing opportunities to provide legal certainty, collect taxes and belong to a globalized world, in which the offering of games of chance is an undeniable reality.