On 16 December 2015 the Brazilian Senate approved Bill 186/2014 (1) that deals with the legalization of gambling, understood in this context to be “Jogo do Bicho”, bingos, casinos and e-gaming. The Bill now goes for analysis and a vote in the House of Representatives.

According to Senator Ciro Nogueira, author of the project, the Brazilian government is failing to raise about USD 4 billion per year due to the current lack of regulation of gambling. The approval of Bill 186/2014 in the House of Representatives is in the federal government’s interest and is falls within a set of measures known as Agenda Brazil (2), which aims to increase tax collection and the resumption of economic growth in the country.

Of most interest to foreign companies and international investors are likely to be the prospect of casinos and internet gambling.

As for casinos, according to the text of the Bill 186/2014, the interested companies will be accredited by the federal government to undertake the activity for a period of 30 years and will operate the casino within an integrated entertainment complex, such as resorts and luxury hotels. Each state of the Brazilian Federation may receive between one and three casinos, and there will be no more than 35 casinos throughout the country. 

Also, according to the Bill, a single economic group may not have more than three casinos in the country and the interested company must be legally incorporated under the laws of Brazil. The bill foresees a 10% tax of the gross revenue earned in the casinos.

As for e-gaming, the text of the Bill of Law is rather vague, but merely sets out that companies accredited and incorporated under the laws of Brazil can offer e-gaming, even if the websites are hosted abroad, and that the taxes are 20% of the gross revenue. A change in the text of Law 12,865 / 2013 (3), Article 9, §§ 7 and 8, which defines the control of the Central Bank on electronic transactions by credit card on online gambling, determines that these financial transactions will be cancelled if the companies are not properly accredited in Brazil.
It is important to note that the bill approved by the Senate can be changed and expanded by the House of Representatives, and may be subject to more detailed scrutiny by the government agency responsible for the accreditation, an agency, as yet, not defined. But it is speculated that this agency will be one linked to the Ministry of Finance or the Federal Savings Bank, which already administers lotteries across Brazil.