Following its deferral

Brazil: Senate to vote on sports betting bill today

Reading time 2:36 min

The Brazilian Senate confirmed, through its news agency, that the analysis of bill 3626/23, which establishes rules for the operation and taxation of fixed odds sports betting, is on the agenda of the plenary session this Tuesday, December 12.

The rapporteur of the initiative, Senator Angelo Coronel (PSD-BA), read his opinion during the plenary session last Thursday, December 6, but an agreement between parliamentarians postponed the vote.

The bill was presented by the federal government with the estimate of raising BRL 2 billion (about $400 million); while for Coronel it could reach up to BRL 10 billion (about $2 billion). These figures are vital for the 2024 fiscal targets.

Coronel's text includes a 12% tax on corporate income and 15% on individuals' bonuses. In addition, foreign companies will have to have at least 20% of their capital in the hands of a Brazilian company. The bill also establishes an initial subsidy of BRL 30 million reais ($6 million) to authorize sites to operate legally.

Angelo Coronel

According to Coronel, several types of online gambling firms already operate illegally in Brazil. "People have to realize that whoever is against regulation is in favor of illegality. There are no excuses," the senator said.

The total amount collected will be distributed as follows, according to the Senate text:

  • 10% for the area of education, divided among entities that administer public school units and public technical high schools;
  • 14% for public safety;
  • 36% for sports, divided among the Ministry of Sports, sports organizations, sports confederations and state sports secretariats;
  • 10% for social security; 
  • 28% for tourism, divided between the Ministry of Tourism and Embratur;
  • 1% to the Ministry of Health, for measures to prevent social damage caused by gambling in the health sector;
  • 0.50% divided among the following civil society organizations: Fenapaes, Fenapestalozzi and Red Cross;
  • 0.50% to the Fund for the Equipment and Operationalization of the Final Activities of the Federal Police.

The opposition, led by Senator Jorge Seif (PL-SC), has already announced that it will seek to block the bill definitively, alleging social damages for encouraging gambling addiction.

Time is running out for the approval of the Government's essential agendas in the Senate, since bill 3626/23, if approved, will still return to the Chamber of Deputies after undergoing several amendments. To be included in the calculations for the 2024 fiscal year, the bill needs to be sanctioned by the President in 2023.

TV Senado reported on the probable vote and interviewed senators on the matter:

For his part, Senator Jorge Kajuru (PSB-GO), one of the authors of the text of bill 3626/23 in the Senate, assured that its approval is a fact. "The government wins. The opposition riots, but the government wins. I was one of the authors of the final report, together with Senator Ângelo (Coronel), where we made very clear the importance of approving this bill. So I believe it will be approved, without problems", he commented.

Jorge Kajuru

The only point where there is still no certainty revolves around the debate on whether or not online casinos will be included in the regulation. This is one of the reasons why the vote was postponed last week.

The original bill, sent by the federal government, did not mention virtual casinos. The modality was included during its passage through the Chamber of Deputies and, when it reached the Senate, it caused resistance from some parliamentarians.

Additionally, the Constitution and Justice Commission (CCJ) of the Senate is processing bill 2.234/2022, which legalizes casinos in tourist resorts and the operation of bingo and games of chance. The rapporteur of the committee, Senator Irajá Abreu (PSD-TO), presented a report in favor of its approval.

This proposal was originally presented in 1991 by the then-federal deputy Renato Vianna (MDB-SC). The text, however, was only approved by the Chamber of Deputies in 2022 and now the discussion has begun to move forward in the Senate CCJ, with the numbering of the bill changed to 2.234.

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