Opinion piece

Sports betting legalization would pave the way for "significant" investments in Brazil

A view of the Arena da Amazônia football stadium located in the city of Manaos. "There is still a barrier to regulate this type of betting activity although the debate has already been brought to Congress,” legal expert Leonardo Azevedo warns.

| 16/03/2017

In a recent opinion piece for the Brazilian BNL Magocom site, Leonardo Azevedo, a legal expert in sports law from the Rayes & Fagundes firm, said the state could pocket USD 854M in taxes if the sports betting market was legalized in the South American country.

“Although sports betting remain barred in the country, there are countless international sites operating in Portuguese that accept bank transfer payments,” the lawyer points out in his column.

“In a recent study, the Getúlio Vargas (FGV) Foundation reported that sports-related betting in Brazil account for R$ 2,000 million (around USD 633M annually. In the meantime, there is still a barrier to regulate this type of betting activity although the debate has already been brought to Congress,” he says to later mention the experience in certain European countries where such activities have become legal. 

“In countries of Europe, where sports betting have been widely regulated, legislation obliges sites to monitor games as a must for them to operate. Control mechanisms allow visualizing any possible misdirection by following up all registered bets, with every sign of irregularities being immediately investigated,” the text reads

“The FGV report estimates that if sports betting was to be legalized in Brazil, the market would reach R$ 10,000 million (USD 3.165B), based on the French experience, which would give the state around R$ 2,700 million (USD 1B) in taxes, this without considering the capital share that could be allocated to sports through legal obligations,” Azevedo affirms also mentioning the case of the United Kingdom Olympic Committee that in 1997 allocated a “significant portion” of money from the national lottery to Olympic and Paralympic Sports.

The lawyer explains that revenue jumped from 58 million pounds prior to the Sydney Games in 2000 to 274 million pounds in Rio 2016, “multiplying investment by five and by four the number of medals conquered in Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro”

“Besides, sports betting legalization would open a new market for potential brands to enter the country and significant capital could be received through the sponsorship of entities and clubs. There is a strong interest of companies seeking to expand into large markets where sports are highly consumed like Brazil is. Examples in Europe of such companies are Bwin, that sponsored the Milan or the Real Madrid (football clubs), and Sky Bet, that operates with clubs in England, among others.”

“While in Brazil we are still debating the failure to modify the legislation because of the climate of mistrust that the possible manipulation of results creates, in Europe the debate goes far beyond attracting more and more youngsters. The so called Z generation accounts for more than a third of the world population and is looking for new experiences. For them, playing the game is not enough: these are people willing to interact with others during the games, to place bets in real time and to have permanent access to information on the events… and they are willing to pay for that.” 

Yogonet.com/ BNL Magocom

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