International edition
August 12, 2020

Conclusions drawn during "SAGSE Talks Brasil"

Sports betting serves as a strategic tool for Brazil's recovery

Sports betting serves as a strategic tool for Brazil's recovery
"Currently, 63% of Brazil's population is economically active (132 million individuals) and the gambling legislation the country offers them is extremely unfit for this age and time," said Magnho José
Brazil | 06/17/2020

Key industry leaders that participated in the panel discussion organized by SAGSE included Altair Mendanha (Lottery coordinator), Bruno Omori (trade association IDT-CEMA), Luiz Felipe Maia (law firm FYMSA), JD Duarte (Betcris), Peter Nolte (Salsa Technology), Karen Sierra-Hughes (GLI), Maghno Jose (Brazilian Institute for Legal Gambling) and Alan Burak (SAGSE).

"Latin America has a population of approximately 569 million inhabitants, of which about 210 million are Brazilian citizens, representing a huge market share in the region. Currently, 63% of its population is economically active (132 million individuals) and the gambling legislation the country offers them is extremely unfit for this age and time," said Magnho José, President of the Instituto Brasileiro Jogo Legal, a nonprofit organization that advocates for legalized gambling in the country.

Altair Mendanha, Head of Lotteries, added that sports betting was recently included in the government’s ‘PPI recovery program’, to create new jobs and mitigate the negative consequences caused by the pandemic. He stated that the addition of the so-called ‘fixed-odds betting’ to the program will elevate its status to a strategic tool for the government, obtaining national priority.

When asked about the regulatory process and the role that the certification labs play in it, Karen Sierra-Hughes stated that it is important to take into account not only the technical aspects of the certification but also the legal and financial side of it, since one of the arguments posed by local opponents to legalized gambling is its supposed link with money laundering. “The purpose of creating a regulatory framework is to protect gamblers, guarantee fair conditions, and the integrity of the market as well as generating revenue for the government. That is why legislation must take into consideration both operators and suppliers alike, to regulate this activity transparently and safely,” she highlighted.

When asked about the number of sports betting licenses that should be available, JD Duarte said: “Brazil is a large country and I believe there should be no limitations; customers should be able to decide through which companies they would like to bet.”

“There is plenty of room for many operators and the focus should always be placed on the customer; imposing limitations would favor the proliferation of illegal gambling,” he added.

“This law was not specifically designed for sports betting, but rather, for the lottery sector”, said Peter Nolte, CEO of Salsa Technology. “This worries me because it sets payment limits and generates misunderstandings as regards the notion of sports betting. I believe this piece of legislation should be reviewed and changes should be made so it better fits the specific needs of the global sports betting market.

Bruno Omori dealt with the regulation of land-based casinos in Brazil and shared his thoughts on the debate as regards the regulation of just Integrated Resorts versus a more comprehensive regulatory framework: “the more open the market is, the better chances for growth. Local and foreign investments could add up to around USD 70 B, but only if we adopt a comprehensive approach towards the regulation of this market. This would not only boost tourism but also the country's entire economy."

JD Duarte compared Brazil with Costa Rica, where legislation did not pave the way for a satisfactory development of sports betting, and bettors chose the offshore market: "To deal with illegal gambling, Brazil must be able to offer a competitive market for legal operators. If taxes are way too high and entering the market is too expensive this would create unfair competition with illegal operators. This is a fact that should be taken into account by the authorities when creating legislation." 

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