Brazil’s Gambling Bill Remains Stuck in Senate Commission as Lawmakers Are No-Show for Meeting

Brazilian Senators once again failed to vote on a gambling legalization bill that could open the South American country’s market for numerous gaming and betting operations. The piece of legislation was previously referred to the Senate’s Constitution and Justice Commission, but its members are yet to consider and vote on it.

The Commission held its first meeting of the year on Wednesday, and the gambling legalization bill was the first item for consideration on its agenda. However, it was removed from the list as many members of the commission were not present during the Wednesday meeting.

PLS 186/2014 was introduced in Brazil’s legislature back in 2014. The legislative piece was co-authored by Brazilian Senators Ciro Nogueira and Benedito de Lira. Its contents have been discussed by lawmakers over the past several years, but no major steps have been taken toward the bill’s enforcement so far.

The provision of most types of gambling services is currently illegal in Brazil. What is more, the status quo has been maintained for over six decades now. Generally speaking, PLS 186/2014 calls for a massive overhaul of attitudes toward gaming services. If the piece gains the necessary support in Brazil’s National Congress in its current form, it will provide for the legalization and regulation of brick-and-mortar casinos, including ones that are part of larger integrated resorts, online casino and betting services, bingo halls, the locally popular lottery-like game jogo do bicho, and a number of other gaming and betting options.

The Constitution and Justice Commission is set to hold its next meeting in two weeks, which means that is the closest occasion on which the gambling legalization bill could finally be considered and hopefully voted on.

Members of the Constitution and Justice Commission were expected to cast their votes on the legislative piece in mid-December. However, their meeting was adjourned before they were able to reach the gambling legalization effort on their agenda.

Potential of Brazil’s Gambling Market

It is believed that Brazil could be global gambling’s sleeping giant. According to previous reports, the local market could be worth over R$18 billion (nearly $5.4 billion) in terms of wagers placed on different types of gambling services.

The fact that a number of leading gambling companies have expressed keen interest in operating in a regulated environment in the South American country comes as another indication of Brazil’s potential to turn into a major gambling hub. Last year, Las Vegas Sands pitched an $8-billion integrated resort project to Brazilian lawmakers. Its rival casino operator, Caesars Entertainment, also pointed out that it would be interested in exploring opportunities to expand into Brazil, once the country legalizes casino gambling.

While PLS 186/2014 calls for the legalization of a number of gambling options, a Las Vegas Sands official has recently recommended the integrated resort model as the best one for Brazil. Talking with local media, the company’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Andy Abboud, has said that a regulated market with limited, integrated resort-style gaming options, could work the best for a market of Brazil’s size and potential. The casino official has further pointed to the regulatory regimes of Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore, where casino gaming services are provided predominantly at gaming floors that are part of larger complexes.

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