Betsson Group Brazil Managing Partner Andre Gelfi urges operators, as well as regulators, to introduce more responsible-gambling initiatives in Brazil as the country prepares to launch as a regulated industry.
Gelfi said he dare not predict when regulated sports betting will be introduced in Brazil, due to political delays that have kept the legislation from being finalised and passed.
However, he explained that although Brazil is not yet a licensed jurisdiction, it is fairly developed, with numerous operators in the country and no controls to protect consumers from, for example, “crazy” advertising to underage audiences in what he described as a “pre-regulation frenzy market”.
While participating in an ICE Vox panel on the Latin American market on Monday afternoon, Gelfi said, “There’s a lot of activity in Brazil, and almost nothing regarding responsible gaming.
“We see a lot of abuse and regulation should tackle this. The operators as well, in my opinion, should be aware of this responsibility to make sure that if the regulation is not in place, they self-regulate and have a minimum standard to put forward after regulation is in place.”
Brazil’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, voted in favour of establishing a federal gambling regulatory framework in February 2022, but following various political delays and a change of government, the legislation has not yet been enacted.
Gelfi said it is hard to predict how the process may unfold over the coming year, although there are rumours that the bill may progress to the Senate and, finally, to presidential sanction after Carnival at the end of this month.
“There’s a chance that this gets halted. I don’t dare to say it’s going to be this year or the following, but it seems like the conditions are in place for this to happen”, Gelfi said tentatively of the potential for the law to be passed this year.
“There’s a new government in place, it needs tax revenues, and (regulation) has been approved by the lower house. It’s a matter of bringing the discussion to the Senate. We just had elections at the Congress and the same people in principle are supportive to the project, so it’s likely to be voted. And let’s see what the voting outcome is looking like.”
Gaming Laboratories International VP Latin America and Caribbean Karen Sierra-Hughes said there was a chance that regulation would be rolled out locally by lotteries in Brazil while a federal law was still not finalised.
“I like to talk about the state lotteries too, because there’s the potential for the states to start operations before all the federal regulation is resolved. And it’s important to keep an eye on how they are advancing”, she said.
“Of course, it’s challenging. Some of them had big protests that were suspended, that were cancelled, etc. But at least you see some movement and you can see also a little bit of how the regulation may be established at some point at the federal level. A lot of responsible-gaming requirements are happening at the state-lottery side. A lot of focus is also on preventing money laundering. So I think it’s good to also keep an eye on what’s going on in the states at the lottery level.”
Sierra-Hughes painted an optimistic picture of the market in other key Latin American nations, highlighting Peru, Panama, Chile, and Columbia among the countries to watch as the Latin American market develops.