Finalamente, All ‘bets’ Are On, Say Olá To Brazil iGaming

Finally! Sports betting and iGaming, known as ‘bets’ in Brazilian gambling and legislative lingo, is on.

After months, if not years, of legal back-and-forth, Brazil’s diminutive President Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva has signed sports betting and iGaming into law in the giant South American nation of nearly 215 million people.

Bill PL3626/23 sets out rules for online gambling operators as well as licensing processes and tax rates.

In what seemed an interminable legal samba throughout December just passed, the legislation, pending for at least five-years, underwent almost 100 amendments before it was ratified by both chambers of Brazil’s National Congress to await Lula’s presidential signature.

Now, both sports betting in sports-mad Brazil and iGaming–both hitherto satiated by clandestine off-shore sites and illegal national sites–will be above board, legal–and taxable–in South America’s essential nation.

In one major worked compromise, over an issue that initially stymied congressional and gambling industry consensus, it’s been agreed that player winnings will be subject to a flat, across-the-board, tax rate of 15 percent — a much more commercial and tenable rate than the market-killing ratio of 22 percent that was being mooted at one time.

Stunning

Brazil’s Ministry of Finance is now set to issue the overarching regulatory decrees determining legality and operations.

Once the detailed provisions of necessary legal documentation have been published by the end of this month, January, putative operators will have 180 days to submit their applications for iGaming licences.

It will cost BRL6 million (£965,777/US$1.22m) to apply for a licence – and Responsible Gambling norms, sports integrity and consumer protection have been embedded in the new digital gaming regime.

The proposed gambling bill hit a major roadblock in 2022 when Brazil’s then-president, the controversial right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro of the Liberal Party, refused to sanction sports betting.

But the stunning presidential victory of Lula (pictured above, blue shirt) in October that year and the return of his Workers’ Party to power at the start of 2023 revived the drive for digital gambling.

Today, in the first analysis, it’s estimated that legal sports betting will raise at least the equivalent of US$2 billion-a-year for public services in Brazil, the largest country by population and land mass in Latin America.

Licensed operators, who must pay BRL 30 million (US$6.1 million) for a five-year licence, will be subject to a tax rate of 12 percent.

Each licensee will be allowed up to three ‘skins’ or brands. They must be incorporated in Brazil, have headquarters in the country and have a legal ‘guardian’ domiciled in the nation.

As they say in Brazil: “Tudo Bom!”

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