The federal deputy, João Carlos Bacelar, was another of the people involved with the gambling and betting sector in the national territory to be interviewed by the journalist Luiz Carlos Prestes Filho, in his special produced for the Tribuna da Imprensa Livre website.
The deputy is seen as one of the main authorities on the subject in the country. The coordinator of the Mixed Parliamentary Front in Defense of the creation of the Regulatory Frameworkfor the Games defends the legalization of all types of games in order to leverage the national economy badly affected by the pandemic of COVID-19.
“We have the opportunity to take the country out of the crisis and reactivate the economy mainly in the post-pandemic period of Covid-19. The betting market in Brazil has an extremely high potential, unlike casinos-resorts, which would take between three or four years to start bringing profits to the country, ”he said.
Check out the interview with Federal Deputy João Carlos Bacelar
Luiz Carlos Prestes Filho: The Chamber of Federal Deputies has, over the last few years, carried out intense work with the executive and the legislature to regulate money betting games administered by the private sector. What is the agenda for 2021?
João Carlos Bacelar: As coordinator of the Mixed Parliamentary Front in Defense of the creation of the Regulatory Framework for Gambling in Brazil, the priority is the approval of the substitute for PL 442/91 (23 PLs joined).
Prestes Filho: Does the aforementioned Parliamentary Front, which has your leadership, defend the legalization of all games? Would bingo and casinos be priorities?
João Carlos Bacelar: We defend all types of betting, bingo, Jogo do Bicho, video-slots, online gambling and casinos. We have the opportunity to take the country out of the crisis and reactivate the economy mainly in the post-pandemic period of Covid-19. The betting market in Brazil has an extremely high potential, unlike casinos-resorts, which would take between three or four years to start bringing profits to the country. Electronic games and online betting, on the other hand, have been gaining more and more strength. Especially with social isolation.
It is estimated that there are already about 450 such sites with penetration in the country, and the expectation is that the volume will continue to evolve. The problem is that national law imposes restrictions on gambling, obliges it to function in an unregulated manner. In practice, bets do not happen in Brazil, since companies are based in other countries and only make their service available online globally. In other words, we are losing revenue on all sides.
Prestes Filho: In the Chamber of Deputies, in recent years, there has been an appreciation of the theme Casino Resort. Does this appreciation open concrete perspectives? What is your opinion about Urban Casinos?
João Carlos Bacelar: Today, there is a minority that defends a law that is called in the Chamber “Sheldon Adelson Law”, which only allows the legalization of casinos integrated to resorts. We are adamantly against it. I have noticed that the movement in Congress is to regulate only three casinos and to deliver the monopoly of gambling in Brazil to investors in the United States. They want to push the unregulated market into criminal structures, which would be absurd.
It is unacceptable to open the doors of Brazil to international entrepreneurs without legalizing the Brazilian entrepreneur, who is there as a misdemeanor. We also cannot legalize just one type of game, which requires a very high investment, and which is not going to be installed in the whole country. It will generate only 20 thousand jobs, and when creating the Regulatory Framework for the games currently operated, we formalized 450 thousand jobs, we generated 200 thousand direct jobs and thousands indirect ones that form the entire productive chain of the game.
There is no way to legalize casinos and leave the game genuinely Brazilian, which is the game of the animal, in hiding. We either legalize it or we will continue to allow corruption. What provides corruption is illegality.
Prestes Filho: What would be the order of priorities for installing regulated game infrastructure in Brazil? Do Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza and Recife offer better conditions than other Brazilian cities?
João Carlos Bacelar: These are better known tourist cities, but we have several municipalities in the interior of the country that are beautiful, deserve to be explored and are able to receive visitors. We need to take more development to other states as well.
Prestes Filho: What is the Bill that is currently underway with force and representation in the National Congress related to games?
João Carlos Bacelar: The creation of the Regulatory Framework for Gambling in Brazil may occur through the approval of the substitute to PL 442/91 (23 PLs joined) in the Chamber of Deputies and PLS 186/14 in the Federal Senate, both proposals are ready for vote in the Plenary of the two Legislative Houses. The Casino Resort is not an option. We want to legalize everything.
Prestes Filho: Could the regulation of money betting contribute to the collection of funds for public coffers?
João Carlos Bacelar: The moment is one of crisis. The legalization of gambling could inject up to R $ 60 billion in the economy per year. One third of that amount would be passed on to public coffers. In other words, the Government would raise another 20 billion reais. And it would not be the only advantage, the legalization of all modalities would also generate more than 650 thousand direct jobs, through the formalization of 450 thousand of the Jogo do Bicho and the creation of at least another 200 thousand new jobs in the other types of games .
In addition, about 500 thousand indirect jobs would be computed with the game’s production chain. We are losing money. These billions could be invested in education, health and public security. In addition to taxes, legalization increases tourism. We cannot close our eyes to this.
Prestes Filho: Do the assembled deputies, who debate the Regulatory Framework for Gambling, intend to hold Public Hearings this year or thematic lives? Do you welcome the participation of the Federation of Industries, the Federation of Commerce and Trade Associations? Would it be opportune for the “S” system to carry out studies on the topic and start training qualified professionals for gaming activities?
João Carlos Bacelar: It is important to bring the topic to the attention of Brazilians. Many people have no idea how the regulation of games can contribute to the development of the country. Therefore, we believe that the exchange of ideas and experiences is valid and enriching. We are creating, with Instituto Jogo Legal, an agenda of Public Hearings and lives.
The format will only depend on the situation experienced during the pandemic, the need for isolation and the immunization of the Brazilian population. But our intention is to make the movement gain more and more popular support. As for the “S” system, the partnership with the sector is essential for tourism, economics and professional qualification. They have to contribute. Our conversation has been going on for a long time and we have already had positive responses. The creation of the regulatory framework for the games is essential for the country. We can only win.
Prestes Filho: Which international events on the topic has the deputy participated in in recent years?
João Carlos Bacelar: We were invited to participate in the ICE London 2020, but, unfortunately, the parliamentary agenda did not allow it. We understand that these events are important for the sector and help to demystify the issue of games, especially in Brazil. The world sees gambling as an industry, while a small portion in the country insists on addressing it as a ‘customs’ theme.
Prestes Filho: Is there a possibility for the Federal Supreme Court (STF), in April, to annul the Law of Criminal Misdemeanors and, in this way, make room for regulation of games in Brazil?
João Carlos Bacelar: The Supreme Federal Court is to judge, on April 7, the merit of the Extraordinary Appeal (RE 966.177) on the non-receipt by the Federal Constitution of the Law of Criminal Contraventions. This could decriminalize gambling in the country, that is, if the STF understands that the law that prohibits gambling is declared incompatible with the Federal Constitution, all games will be lawful and without any regulation.
Another favorable point is that, if the Congress perceives the possibility of the STF to decide on the gambling issue, it may represent a pressure for the deputies to decide on the subject. From there, automatically, we will be able to formalize about 700 thousand jobs.
Prestes Filho: Does the federal executive, especially the ministers, accept the possibility of regulation?
João Carlos Bacelar: We are talking to the Executive on the subject. President Jair Bolsonaro says, publicly, that he is against legalization, but we know that the declarations only happen because of the proximity to the conservative bench. In fact, some of its ministers have already signaled that this would be a good option to take the country out of the crisis. We are articulating to guide the projects as soon as possible.
Prestes Filho: In your opinion, what are the forces against the regulation of gambling?
João Carlos Bacelar: Hypocrisy is a major obstacle to the legalization of games. We live, first, with the official game. We have Mega-Sena, which offers a prize of R $ 200 million; the Jogo do Bicho with 300 thousand points installed and has open internet; and with bets of 3 billion reais in online games every year. Therefore, to say that there is no game is hypocrisy. Not to mention the approximately 300,000 Brazilians leave Brazil every year to play in casinos in Uruguay, Argentina, Portugal and Las Vegas.
What did Dutra’s decision, when he banned gambling, in 1946, bring to the country? Brazil fails to collect taxes and formalize jobs. Gambling was banned, but it never ceased to exist. The gambling industry is a very rich industry. Casinos bring tourism, hotels, work for taxis, for waiters. There comes the entertainment industry, cultural development. It is a huge potential that a country that has been in economic crisis for several years is not taking advantage of.
Prestes Filho: Brazil holds electronic elections with exemplary supervision. Do we have technology to supervise games competently?
João Carlos Bacelar: The draft of Regulatory Framework for Gambling (PL 442/91 and attached) suggests that the Union create a Federal Regulatory Agency to oversee the activity of casinos, bingos, animal games and gaming machines. Studies show that, with the revenue collected, it will be possible to create and remunerate the Agency’s employees.João Carlos Bacelar: The draft Regulatory Framework for Games (PL 442/91 and attached) suggests that the Union create a Federal Regulatory Agency to oversee the activity of casinos, bingos, animal games and gaming machines. Studies show that, with the revenue collected, it will be possible to create and remunerate the Agency’s employees.
Prestes Filho: Is there a specific project to enhance the country’s entrepreneurial strength, when games are regulated? Is there a risk that Brazil is a mere importer of gaming equipment and even professionals?
João Carlos Bacelar: No. We want to attract tourism and turn the economy around. Instead of Brazilians traveling to the border, for example, they can bet right here. We are a country rich in culture, landscapes, beaches, cuisine, history. There is much to be explored and, if we add, to leisure, we will gain the attention of visitors from all over the world. Our professionals will have no interest and no need to leave their country of origin because they will be recognized and well paid.
Prestes Filho: How to enhance the national identity in the spaces for gambling? How to value music, dance, Brazilian audiovisual in casinos and bingos. Could we have a market reserve for national artists and producers?
João Carlos Bacelar: The production of shows, plays, dance of Brazilian culture are essential for the valorization of our culture. We have great artists, musicians, painters, for example, who are unable to exhibit their work for lack of opportunity. Therefore, bingos and casinos have enormous potential to reveal local talents. This is one of the many possibilities if we legalizing gambling.