Although sports betting has been formally approved in Brazil, legislators have postponed efforts to launch the market this year as priorities shift to tackling the covid-19 pandemic.
Brazil’s former president, Michel Temer, signed off on sports gambling in December 2018, – which at the time provided for lawmakers to craft the regulatory model within two years. Depending on how the virus pans out the legislature may return to the issue by the deadline of December this year, and launch in early 2021.
Regulations were last being worked on in February, although the more recent developments saw significant restrictions to previous plans as the unlimited number of licences previously billed, was reduced to just a handful.
According to Magnho Jose, president of the Brazilian Institute for Legal Gaming, further delay is regretful. “It is time the government legalized gambling to strengthen the economy, generate employment, and fight against poor labor conditions, the illegal market, and money laundering,” he said. “It is worth noting that before the pandemic, Brazil’s unemployment toll was 12 million.
In the meantime illegal gambling continues unabated, he added. “Anyone who walks down the street can come across illegal bingo halls, slot machines and jogo do bicho. Brazilians are into wagering and problem gamblers are not going to bet more with the opening of the market, they are just going to do it legally. If Brazil legalizes this industry, the government will be able to establish public policy aimed at treating these gamblers and adopt measures to protect citizens from the potential negative effects of illegal gambling.”