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Lawmakers in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies have voted to legalise both online and land-based gambling in a major step forward for the country’s gaming sector.

Federal Deputies approved Bill 442/91 by a vote of 246-202 this week, allowing for the regulated launch of online gambling, horseracing, land-based casinos, bingo and traditional Brazilian game jogo do bicho in the jurisdiction. 

Operators looking to set up online casino offerings in Brazil must abide by specific regulations, including having servers physically located in the country.

They must also be licensed by the Ministry of the Economy, while regulations are expected to be enforced by a newly created supervisory authority.

If and when a legalised online gaming market eventually launches in the country, the Brazilian government will also require any unlicensed operator websites to be blocked in Brazil by internet service providers.

Bill 442/91 sets out several other conditions including who may operate a gambling business, how many land-based gambling venues may be established in each state and district, a requirement for KYC checks to be carried out on each customer, the creation of self-exclusion capabilities and specific restrictions on the advertising of gambling.

A tax rate set at 17% of GGR is expected for operators, while customers will also have winnings over R$10,000 taxed at a rate of 20%.

Licence fees for online operators are expected to cost R$300,000 (€52,334) per quarter, giving online gaming the second highest licence fee of all verticals, behind land-based casinos which will be expected to pay R$600,000.

The bill has now been sent to Brazil’s senate for consideration. If approved there, it will be passed to president Jair Bolsonaro to be signed into law.

Bolsonaro has strongly opposed the liberalisation of both online gaming and sports betting in Brazil.

While the bill covers online and land-based gaming, it does not include sports betting, which is in the final stages of regulation following the passage of a bill in 2018 which legalised the activity.

In addition to the possibility of online licensing, passage of the bill would see land-based operators permitted to open casinos in integrated resorts in each of Brazil’s 26 states, with one, two or three resorts allowed in each, depending on the size of the state’s population.

Bingo would also be allowed in dedicated bingo halls, at racetracks and jockey clubs, as well as in sports stadiums.

Jogo do bicho – Brazil’s traditional, bingo-style game which has been popular in the country since the 20th century – despite its technically illegal status – would also be permitted, though the number of operators in each region would be strictly limited.

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