QUA 23 DE MAIO DE 2018 - 11:48hs.
Gildo Mazza
OPINION - GILDO MAZZA, JOURNALIST SPECIALIZED IN GAMING

Brazil must approve its gaming law in the first half of the year

Although officially the date of return of senators and federal deputies have been last Friday (February 2nd), only yesterday the National Congress resumed parliamentary activity. And 2018 should be the year of redemption for the gaming industry, which has never seen the much-awaited regulation of the activity so close. It is expected that by the end of the first half we will already have a law passed by the Legislature.

The two bills that deal with regulation are ready to be voted on at any time, and it is expected that both House of Representatives (PL 442/91) and Senate (PLS 184/14) projects to be ncluded on agenda during first sessions.

The House project has gone through all the commissions and a year ago had its approval in a special committee that discussed the subject. With an urgent request signed by several leaders and with the pressure of practically all the governors for the project to be voted on, it is difficult for the mayor, Rodrigo Maia, to be able to hold for a long time the decision to attend the urgent request.

As soon as the request for urgency is accepted, PL 442/91 should go to the Plenary, where its approval is expected. What worries the industry as a whole is the fact that Rodrigo Maia and some of his colegue defend the Las Vegas model, with the approval of only integrated casino resorts, while the other modalities would not be contemplated. It will be up to the industry leaders to reinforce to the deputies the maintenance of the project in full, despite the strong lobby of Las Vegas groups so that only mega-resorts are approved, an idea that agrees with the president of the House, Deputy Rodrigo Maia.

On the other hand, the Senate bill contemplates all types of games and had a favorable opinion of Senator Benedito de Lira on the Constitution and Justice Commission (CCJ) and should be put to a vote as soon as the CCJ's work is resumed. Approval is also given for certainty, both in committee and in Plenary. Few, today, are senators opposed to approval. Since they are senators of little rhetoric and poor power of conviction, they will not be able to carry forward their innocent, incoherent and irresponsible arguments of money laundering and vice.

It is urgent for Brazil that a project that contemplates gaming be finally approved. The country is experiencing an important revenue crisis and in 2017 had a deficit in the public sector of almost R$ 111 billion (US$ 34.5 billion). When an economic segment such as gaming presents itself offering an annual revenue of more than R$ 30 billion (US$ 9.3 billion) to the public coffers, it needs to be heard.

Only by negligence could the government and parliamentarians leave such a proposal aside. The governors have already spoken in favor, because they want this recipe for public safety. Rio de Janeiro, for example, is experiencing one of the worst crises in its security history. In January alone, every two days a policeman was killed by organized crime, not counting dozens of citizens who were victims of lost bullets and other crimes. Deputies and senators have an obligation to look at this and approve the gaming law.

We all know the importance of other reforms, especially welfare ones (which currently account for much of the deficit), but such reforms depend on many agreements and support from public opinion. The gaming industry has such support. If parliamentarians look at the latest research published right here at GMB, they will realize that they can pass a law for the industry without creating antipathy to their constituents.

So, gentlemen, is or is not time to add US$ 9.3 billion to the government coffers?

 

GILDO MAZZA

Gildo Mazza, a journalist specializing in the gaming industry, publisher of Games Magazine since its founding in 1997. He has also collaborated with editions published in Italy, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and Argentina.

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