Mixed signals

Brazil's gaming legislation: between hope and disappointment

2021-12-09
Brazil
Reading time 3:26 min

During the past weeks and months, the news about the legalization of the Brazilian market has increased, and once again the eyes of the world are on the Legislative Branch, as it reaches the last legislative sessions of the year with the promise, other times unfulfilled, to regulate gambling.

It seems that 2021 is not the exception to this rule, and through the end of last week and the beginning of this week, a series of conflicting statements have caused confusion, as they do not in fact confirm if Congress will deal with the Gaming Law this year, or if it will be postponed again until after the Carnivals, in which case it would also have to go through an electoral year in Brazil, which complicates the procedure and approval of the law.

Among those who believe that this year could see the grand opening of the sleeping giant is Felipe Carreras, deputy rapporteur of the text that is being analyzed in the Chamber of Deputies.

For Carreras, the project "should go to the plenary before the end of this year".

"I want to see if I finalize the report next week, to validate it with the working group and allow President Arthur Lira to deliberate on the issue with the Chamber," he said in a recent interview. And he explained: "The vote will be taken next week, I am certain of that. The president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira, will carry out two weeks of voting, which will run from Monday through Friday. As this matter is already scheduled to go to the plenary, it can be voted on". Will it be voted before the recess, he was asked openly: "I am certain it will," he added.

But when it comes to Arthur Lira, his statements have been confusing, mixed, and opaque, without giving clear signs of a vote before the closing of the legislative sessions. The President of the Chamber had promised to take the bills to a vote in the plenary, but the local press assures that "there won't be time to debate on them this year".

An article entitled "Fake news, bitcoins, and gambling: what Arthur Lira leaves in the drawer for 2022" explains this situation.

According to the article, Lira had guaranteed favorable results in the Government's main voting sessions that were carried throughout the year and signed commitments to bring to a vote some bills that will now have to be left for 2022.

On Thursday 2, Lira confirmed that this would be the case for at least one bill, the Fake News Bill, which establishes rules to hold social networks accountable for spreading fake news. Lira said there were still "a lot of controversies" surrounding the text, and that is why the vote would be delayed.

Local magazine VEJA mentioned three other proposals that were expected for this year after Lira's promises, but which are not expected to go to a vote. Among them, the Gaming proposal stands out, together with others such as Cryptocurrencies and the Railroads Framework Bill.

According to what Brazil's prestigious online news site BNL Data reports on the subject, the truth is that it is not yet defined whether there will be time and consensus for the vote on the text of PL 442/91, which is being updated and improved by the Working Group that was created in September by the President of the Chamber of Deputies.

The report of Deputy Carreras is expected to be analyzed and deliberated this week by the Working Group, and then delivered to the President of the Chamber of Deputies. It should be noted that the 90-day deadline for submitting the report ends on Thursday. After delivering it to the Board of Directors, the deputies interested in the approval and the sector will work together with the benches and parliamentarians for the approval of the text in the Plenary.

In theory, the Chamber will be working for two weeks, from December 6 to 10 and from December 13 to 17, since the parliamentary recess begins on December 22, and the resumption of the Chamber is scheduled for February 1. BNL Data emphasizes: "the sector has to be aware that it makes no sense to prepare the proposal and not have the votes to approve it, as it would be a huge step backward", which leads us to think that this year, despite the enthusiasm of the sector, the bill would therefore not have a chance to be approved.

And to provide more data pointing to further disappointment, Radar Online published an article in which it is reported that Arthur Lira himself let it be known that the Chamber "will no longer vote on anything relevant this year".

In conversations with the mayor of São Paulo, Ricardo Nunes, and other state municipal leaders, the president of the Chamber said that, in his opinion, "the year is over. We will no longer vote on anything relevant this year. We are only going to fill in the gaps", he stated.

The truth is that there will be weeks of anxiety and a bitter taste of disappointment if the expected prophecy is not fulfilled, or if all this news is part of an expected approval process for the Brazilian market. Today, uncertainty reigns.

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