Brazil has been trying to expand its gambling sector for decades but efforts to ensure the same have only been ramped up over the past few years. While there have been significant developments with regards to sports betting, there has been a lot of lag when it comes to the legalization of retail casinos.
Lawmakers in the country have once again started discussing the possibility of bringing retail casinos to the country. This is all thanks to Alberto Neto, a Brazilian federal deputy serving the state of Amazonas, who recently submitted a bill for discussion. The bill in question is proposing the legalization of casino resorts in the state of Amazonas which is the largest of Brazil’s 26 states.
According to the lawmaker, bill PL 585/2020 will make Amazonas the first state to offer casinos which comes with a lot of expectations. The state will serve as a test run for the country’s retail gambling industry and depending on its success, we might get to see an avalanche of state bills seeking to legalize casino resorts in other states.
“Even though there was not the necessary consensus for legalization in the national territory of casinos, I believe that the State of Amazonas could be a pioneer in practice, and therefore, a true laboratory for assessing whether the country is, in fact, ready to receive casinos.”Federal Deputy Alberto Neto
Needless to say, Brazil has a lot of great things going for it and this may facilitate a very successful expanded gambling industry. For instance, the country boasts of being the sixth most popular nation on the planet and this means that it has a huge potential to foster a regulated gambling industry. However, it will be up to the state governments to decide on that.
Opposition from President Jair Bolsonaro
The introduction of the bill to legalize online casinos has been backed by several Brazilian government officials. However, President Jair Bolsonaro is yet to buy the idea of the potential benefits of a legalized retail casino industry.
He has stated that such proposals are the exclusive responsibility of the federal branch and that he and his government will not initiate any discussions regarding the legalization of casinos in the country. As it turns out, his opposition to the legalization of casinos mainly comes from concerns regarding the possibility of an increase in crime rates and money laundering in Brazil.
Now, until this issue is sorted out, Brazilian gamers will need to settle for the state-run lottery and the available sports betting options. The discussions are bound to take even longer considering the disruptive impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world.