Brazil’s Sports Betting Proposal Faces Delay

Brazil’s sports betting proposals are reportedly facing both a delay and a substantial decrease in the number of licences available.

Games Magazine Brasil reported this weekend that the Secretary of Public Policy, Planning, Energy and Lottery (SECAP) is getting ready to announce a dramatic shake up of the country’s proposals to regulate online and terrestrial sports betting.

The government has conducted a number of public consultations to draught its betting laws, and it was expected that the final text will be ready for release in March. But SECAP is reportedly planning a third round of consultations, meaning it is unlikely that the regulations will arrive until the second half of 2020.

Moreover, while the government originally planned an open licencing scheme with hopes of attracting about 50 operators, SECAP is now reportedly thinking of a significantly smaller number of licensees, closer to a concession model, with licences valid for a nine year term.

The revisions are ostensibly due to pressure from the National Treasury Attorney General (PGFN), who apparently felt that in the proposed plans there were not enough legal enforcement measures to address international online sportsbooks that continued to serve Brazilian customers following the launch of the regulated market.

The limited licence model appears to favour local-connected companies, making Betsson’s recent acquisition of a 75 percent stake in Brazilian betting operator Suaposta appear all the more prophetic.

Last month, SECAP Secretary Alexandre Manoel announced his intention to “sometime this year” leave political life. While Manoel insisted that the betting regulations be issued “by the end of March,” the new consultation appears to have mooted Manoel’s assurances.

Whether the third public consultation could produce some favourable movement on the proposed betting tax rates remains to be seen. The last consultation generated turnover tax rates of 3 percent for online betting and 6 percent for land-based wagers, after originally proposing a 1 percent tax on betting turnover.