President of the Chamber Arthur Lira forwards gambling release bill to plenary this Tuesday
Speaker of the House Arthur Lira and President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Marcelo Camargo / Agência Brasil

The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), sent to the plenary to appreciate the proposal that provides for the legalization of gambling in Brazil this Tuesday, 22, a project of which he is one of the main defenders.

But the agenda suffers from resistance from the evangelical bench. President Jair Bolsonaro has already stated that he intends to veto the bill, if approved in Congress. On the other hand, the economic team of the federal government is favorable due to the projection of revenue growth, generation of direct and indirect jobs and strengthening of national tourism.

The rapporteur of the agenda, deputy Felipe Carreras (PSB-PE), admitted that he has not yet concluded the report. According to ‘O Globo’, party leaders, however, want to negotiate changes to the final proposal in the morning of this Tuesday, aiming to put it to a vote in the afternoon. The article in ‘O Globo’ brings all the movements in the Chamber aimed at approving gambling.

Lira imposes agenda in the Chamber and takes legalization of gambling to vote this Tuesday

The president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), guided the plenary to vote today on the project that legalizes gambling in the country, a proposal of which he himself is one of the main enthusiasts and which does not have the support of Palácio do Planalto, of whom the Alagoan deputy is allied. President Jair Bolsonaro has already promised to veto the changes if they are approved in Congress. This is yet another initiative by Lira to move forward with matters of interest to his political group in 2022, something he has been doing since the beginning of the legislative year.

In the first three weeks of work of the year, the deputies preferentially appreciated projects that are on the agenda of the president of the Chamber and his allies. The House approved, for example, the extension of the maximum age for entry of judges and ministers in higher courts. This is a demand of the Judiciary, where cases of several parliamentarians are being processed. A proposal was also approved that facilitates the granting of registration of pesticides — an old request from ruralists, a sector that has good relations with Lira.

In the case of increasing the maximum age in higher courts, attention was drawn to the ease with which the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) was approved by the special commission, without resistance. In addition, a few days later, the plenary approved the project in two rounds. Normally, PECs have a longer process in the Legislature.

The spotlight, however, is in the release of gambling, an undertaking for which Lira has been articulating in favor since last year. The project’s rapporteur, deputy Felipe Carreras (PSB-PE), said he has not yet finalized his opinion. Party leaders hope, however, to address the issue and negotiate adjustments to the final text this morning, in order to try to vote on it in the afternoon.

Carreras has been going weekly to the official residence of the presidency of the Chamber to align the final version with Lira and leaders of the House. Although Bolsonaro has officially taken a stand against the matter, the government leader in the Chamber, Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), acts to approve the text quickly.

In the current version, the project in question, which has been going through the Chamber since 1991, allows casinos, bingos and Jogo do Bicho. The rapporteur, however, intends to impose restrictions, among them delimiting that casinos can only operate in tourist regions and, even so, as part of hotel complexes, such as resorts. The locations would be defined by regulation of the Executive Branch.

Bingo would only be allowed in specialized houses or football stadiums. They could also be exploited by philanthropic, religious and Santas Casas entities to raise funds. In the case of the Jogo do Bicho, the most controversial of the modalities, operating licenses would be tendered. In the states, for every one million inhabitants, a license may be granted. The minimum capital to enter the dispute would be R$ 10 million.

The evangelical bench presses for the proposal to be appreciated only after Carnival, when there will be a return to face-to-face work. Yesterday, Lira was charged by the group for having put the topic on the agenda. Since the return of activities, he says that the matter can be voted on “at any time”, and an agreement was already reached last year.

The president of the Chamber shared with allies, since the end of last year, a list of projects that he considers important. These are proposals that he wants to be on the agenda or that have already been approved by the deputies and he would like them to be continued in the Senate.

In addition to gambling, the list includes topics such as the framework for the electricity sector, Refis and some texts of interest to the government, such as the New Guarantee Framework — a project that creates institutions to manage guarantees provided by debtors.

Lira has also been committed to speeding up the project, already approved by the Senate, which criminalizes the mass dissemination of fake news, but completely reformulated by the Chamber. Reported by deputy Orlando Silva (PCdoB-SP), the text is being analyzed by the parties’ benches.

Last week, Lira authorized the addition of another project to the original version, which included the possibility of tracking the origin of shared content, whether through messaging applications or social networks.

— The Senate text already has traceability, that is, this debate is open. We already have about 90 bills added, which shows the interest of parliamentarians, the relevance and urgency of the topic – said Orlando Silva.

In addition to this point, there are discussions about the model of sanctions provided for networks that fail to comply with the legislation. At the same time, the government released a list of topics that it considers essential — and that have not received the same attention from Lira, at least for the time being.

Opposition complaint

Despite this being a topic reported by an opposition deputy, parliamentarians complain about the absence of leaders of left-wing parties in meetings scheduled by the president of the Chamber to debate the deliberate issues .

In the session in which the project that facilitates the granting of pesticides registration was approved, the leader of the PSOL, Sâmia Bomfim (SP), criticized the lack of a meeting of leaders to deal with the votes that week. Lira countered by saying that the agreement was made at the end of last year, when the proposal was withdrawn from the agenda on the condition that it be included in early 2022.

Sought, Lira’s adviser said that he meets every week with both groups, base and opposition. Last week, Congressman Orlando Silva (PCdoB-SP) was present to present the fake news project. To allies, Lira has said that even when he does not have a formal meeting, he usually calls to hear the opposition.

The House Speaker’s Agenda

Maximum age for judges and ministers in higher courts

Last week, the Chamber approved a Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) that increases the maximum age for appointing judges and ministers in higher courts from 65 to 70 years. If confirmed by the Senate, the ministers of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) João Otávio Noronha and Humberto Martins, who have good communication with the political class, will once again be able to fill vacancies in the Federal Supreme Court (STF).

Legalization of gambling

Lira wants to vote today on a project that releases gambling in Brazil. The evangelical bench is against it, and President Jair Bolsonaro has already said he will veto the proposal, although the economic team is in favor due to the increase in revenue.

Guarantees for the Law practice

The deputies approved a project that expands the guarantees of law firms in cases of suspected crime. One of the changes made to the Statute of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) prohibits search and seizure operations based exclusively on reports by whistleblowers. Presented in 2020, the proposal is a reaction to investigative actions considered abusive.

Against fake news

President of the Chamber wants to vote on a project that criminalizes the mass dissemination of messages with disinformation and creates rules of conduct for digital platforms, such as social networks, search engines and messaging apps.

‘PL of Poison’

The House approved a proposal that relaxes the legislation and speeds up the licensing of pesticides.

Main points of the gambling proposal

Regulation

The bill, pending in the Chamber since 1991, legalizes games in Brazil, such as casinos, bingos and Jogo do Bicho. The rapporteur of the matter, Felipe Carreras (PSB-PE), has not yet finalized the text and is still negotiating the main points.

Casinos

The deputy intends to include in the final report the possibility of having casinos integrated with resorts in some regions. These places need to be in a large leisure complex and also have “upscale hotel accommodation”.

Bingos

The opinion allows the exploitation of bingo on a permanent basis only in houses dedicated to this purpose, or in football stadiums, with occasional games being prohibited, unless carried out by philanthropic or religious entities.

Jogo do bicho

The licenses for the Jogo do Bicho would be tendered. In the states, for every one million inhabitants, a license may be granted. The minimum capital to enter the dispute for the right to explore the sport would be R$ 10 million.

Online betting

Bets on electronic channels would be limited to the same population criterion as the animal game. There is also an auction forecast for the granting of licenses that would give the right to explore the modality, with a minimum capital of R$100 million.

Slot machine

Slot machines that play casino games may only be installed on the physical premises of an integrated leisure complex, if, for example, resorts, the practice would continue to be prohibited elsewhere.