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Navigating Brazil's Evolving Gambling Landscape: Insights on Bill No. 3626 of 2023

Upcoming changes by the Bill No. 3626, of 2023, which was recently approved and modified by the Senate Plenary, brings a great potential for a Brazilian gambling regulation along with some novelties and letdowns.

Current situation on Brazilian gambling regulation

Almost all verticals in Brazil are prohibited, with a small exception of badly regulated both online and land-based betting. There are no B2B licenses, and only a few licensed sports-betting platforms in the country exist. Current legislation for betting (Law No. 13756/2018) does not provide detailed licensing regime nor any upfront licensing costs. No need to mention that casinos and slots in any form are prohibited in Brazil and online lottery is a monopoly of a local Caixa.

Those, online gambling licensing is either unregulated or prohibited in Brazil, and the legislation requires a lot of amendments and implementing.

New Bill amendments

Now, Bill No. 3626, of 2023, exists not in its first edition. The Brazilian government originally submitted the Bill to the House of Representatives, that approved it on September 13, 2023, and supplemented it with certain great novelties. Though, the second hearing on December 12, 2023, by the Senate changed the original version even more, bringing some advantages and some disadvantages.

Let's review the latest changes and provisions in the Bill:

  • Online gambling.

The previous version of Bill No. 3626, of 2023, consisted of provisions that were aimed at regulation of online casinos and virtual game betting. Given the complete lack of regulation of these verticals by current legislation, the presence of online regulation provisions contained hope for the future legalization of all gambling in Brazil. Bill defined online gaming as: "an electronic channel that enables virtual betting on a game in which the outcome is determined by the outcome of a random future event, based on a random number generator, symbols, figures, or objects defined in the rules system", and online gaming on virtual event as: "an event, competition, or act of online gaming, the outcome of which is unknown at the time of the bet."

Recent voting by the Senate rejected these provisions, which means that the current version of the Bill does not and would not permit companies to run online casinos or betting on virtual games.

  • Taxation.

A bright side from the previous modification. The initial text of the bill contained provisions on the new taxes for operators: income tax of 30% on the net prizes (tax on winnings) and income tax 18% on GGR. The Senate reduced these amounts to 15% on winnings and 12% on GGR.

  • License (authorization) term.

The maximum term of each authorization for betting in Brazil has been extended from three to five years.

  • Fees.

The current version of the Bill includes the cost for license for fixed-odd betting, and this value may range from approx. 11,000 USD to 400,000 USD, depending on the amount of revenue.

  • Fantasy sports.

The bill now defines “fantasy sports” and establishes that it does not fall within the scope of fixed-odds sports betting – thus, it does not require a license. Though, the new version of the Bill increases the tax on social contribution to 12% on net profit for fantasy sports companies, whereas in previous version this tax was at a rate of 9%.

  • Other provisions.

Among else, the current version of the Bill also implements the betting identification system, the transition period, local ownership, advertisement regulations and rules for brand usage.

Conclusion

Experts believe that further hearing by the Chamber of Duties will add again the provisions on online gambling to the Bill. It should pass Chamber in December – February, and there is a huge possibility that the Bill will be finalized by the end of the 2023.

By not regulating online gambling, while there is an opportunity, the regulator risks the whole gambling market, since most of all operators are primarily interested in offshore online gambling. I-gaming is a popular sector and Brazil has all the tools to attract great attention to its market and develop its undoubted potential.

If the Chamber of Duties will add the previous provision for online casino and i-gaming and the Bill will be approved by the President, it will be a successful start to the development of a regulated market in Brazil, and in 2024 new legislative modifications may occur for casinos and other verticals regulation.