Brazil’s Progressive Stance on Fixed- Odds Betting and Online Gambling: A Legal Overview

On December 30, 2023, Brazil took a significant step forward in regulating its gambling landscape. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sanctioned Law No. 14,790, evolving the country’s approach to fixed-odds betting and online gambling. This landmark legislation, which amends the previous Law No. 13,756/2018, signifies a pivotal turn in the country’s economic and social control of betting activities. Subsequently, on January 31, 2024, the federal government established a dedicated regulatory body within the Ministry of Finance via Decree No. 11,907 to oversee and manage the sector.

1. Strategic Authorization and Control

Under the new law, sports betting and online casino operations can only be conducted by companies that have secured authorization from the Ministry of Finance. The authorization process mandates an investment of up to R$ 30 million to be made by an operator as a licensing fee, along with the satisfaction of comprehensive prerequisites, granting a single legal entity the right to operate up to three distinct brands over a five-year tenure. This strategic move ensures that only qualified entities, compliant with rigorous technical, cybersecurity, and operational standards, will participate in the market. A Brazilian shareholder must own at least 20% of the company, underscoring the commitment to local investment and influence.

2. Technical and Operational Requirements

The authorization process includes a comprehensive evaluation of the operator’s capabilities, including a proven track record in gaming, bets, or lotteries, and the institution of robust corporate policies. These policies encompass customer service, anti-money laundering measures, the prevention of terrorism financing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, responsible gambling practices, and the integrity of betting operations.

3. Taxation and Revenue Distribution

Operators will be subject to a 12% tax on Gross Gaming Revenue, alongside standard taxation applicable to Brazilian service providers, complemented by a surveillance fee that scales with net revenue. Bettors will be subject to a 15% Personal Income Tax on net winnings. The collected revenue will bolster various public sectors, highlighting a strategic reinvestment into the community.

4. Advertising Standards and Consumer Protection

The new law also brings advertising under scrutiny. Advertisements must responsibly promote gambling, including clear messaging about the legal age for gambling and the risks associated with betting. The Brazilian Council for Self- Regulation in Advertising (Conar) has complemented this with specific guidelines, emphasizing truthful presentation, social responsibility, and the safeguarding of minors.

5. Safeguarding Integrity and Upholding Rights

Match-fixing and corruption in sports are directly addressed, with nullification of bets arising from such acts. Additionally, consumer rights are at the forefront, mandating transparent information about the financial implications of betting and the provision of Portuguese-language customer service channels.

6. Inspection and Compliance

Operators will be subject to a monthly inspection fee based on net revenue. Financial and payment institutions are barred from processing transactions with unauthorized operators, and internal monitoring must be in place to flag potential money laundering or terrorism financing activities.

7. Moving Forward

The Ministry of Finance is tasked with rolling out regulations that will detail the authorization process and minimum requirements for operators, anticipated for release in the forthcoming weeks. An adaptation period of at least six months will be provided to existing companies to align with the new standards.

8. Conclusion

Brazil’s Law No. 14,790 marks a new chapter for the nation’s gambling industry. It fosters a regulated environment at federal level that prioritizes ethical practices, consumer protection, and social responsibility. As Brazil awaits the Ministry of Finance’s regulations, the industry is poised to embark on a path that balances economic opportunity with stringent oversight.

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