Exclusive- Federal Deputy Felipe Carreras ratifies the reasons for approving gambling in Brazil
Image: Disclosure

The subject of the moment in Brazil, in the scope of sports betting and gambling and casinos, continues to be the issue of approval and subsequent regulation of the PL that have been presented and await the signature of the Federal Government.

Meanwhile, the World Cup in Qatar is approaching, the stakes are intensifying and the millions of reais in potential taxes are going out of Brazil.

One of the many defenders of this issue is Federal Deputy Felipe Carreras, rapporteur of PL 442/91, who spoke to the iGaming Brazil portal on this occasion.

Check the interview in full.

iGaming Brazil – Deputy, please comment on the fact that after December 13th, the sports betting law will have full validity regardless of regulation. What does that mean?

Deputy Felipe Carreras – Law 13756/18, which instituted fixed-odds betting, defines that the Union has up to four years to regulate the modality. Last June, the Federal Government edited Provisional Measure 1034 to regulate the sector of betting made through digital means, which did not happen. If this regulation does not come out by December 12, unregulated operators will be able to work in the country without having to pay a penny of tax to the Union’s coffers, and without any legal problems.

iGaming Brazil – You said – “It is not the gambling that breaks up families, but hunger and unemployment”. Can you elaborate?

Deputy Felipe Carreras – In the last two years the Covid-19 pandemic has severely penalized the event and tourism sectors in Brazil. We see the legalization of gambling as a tool to overcome the economic crisis, especially in these segments. Our country today has at least 10 million unemployed people. Meanwhile, bingos, slot machines and online gambling move more than BRL 20 billion every year, operating informally. With the legalization of all modalities, in addition to the opening and maintenance of direct and indirect jobs, the market has the potential to raise BRL 74 billion and generate around BRL 22 billion in tax revenue per year.

A survey by the Instituto Brasileiro Jogo Legal pointed out that around 450,000 jobs should be formalized in the Jogo do Bicho alone. If we take into account the other modalities, the formalization of the industry could provide around 650 thousand direct jobs, and 200 thousand new vacancies.

iGaming Brazil – What are the biggest benefits of the gambling regulation in Brazil? Why do you defend this?

Deputy Felipe Carreras – Attracting investments, collecting taxes, creating jobs, creating control mechanisms to prevent market activities from being used for money laundering, and elements to mitigate the issue of pathological gambling. The operation of these activities clandestinely does not bring any gain to the country. On the contrary, it reinforces the image, among our population and the foreign community, that we are a complacent nation with illegal activities.

This is an issue that has lasted for 30 years in Congress. It is a demand of the tourist and event communities, mainly. We see countries like Canada, the United States and many others with a thriving economy and the resources from gambling being fundamental for the development of these nations.

iGaming Brazil – How do you see the issue in the Chamber of Deputies?

Deputy Felipe Carreras – As I said earlier, the proposal for the National Gambling System has been going through Congress for 30 years. Brazil is more than ready to have this market regulated, and it is past time to have clear rules for the sector. Our report, approved by the Chamber last February, was considered modern by industry experts, and with provisions to ensure more reliable and transparent conditions to allow citizens to exercise the desire to play and bet according to clearly defined rules.

We had an extensive debate with the deputies to demystify misconceptions about gambling, and the matter was forwarded to the Federal Senate. But our work did not stop there. Our articulation with the house, as well as with the Executive Power, continues. The sector moves billions every year without any counterpart for the State and society. Really, this can no longer go on.

iGaming Brazil – Regarding the collection, what could be done? How could these R$ 30 billion that are not collected with non-regulation be used?

Deputy Felipe Carreras – The regulation of the market will allow an increase in tax collection with the exploitation of betting games, ensuring more resources for the implementation and development of social public policies for states and municipalities, representing a reinforcement of our fiscal federalism.

iGaming Brazil – When there are casinos, what will be the impact they will have on national tourism after the regulation?

Deputy Felipe Carreras – Casinos are bold ventures that require large investments. They are not limited to gambling either, they offer a wider structure, with high-end accommodation, shops, concert halls, restaurants and other activities. So, of course, the impact on tourism will be huge, and we are talking about attracting Brazilians and foreigners to these entertainment complexes and their surroundings. Our country, so famous for its natural beauty, culture, history and gastronomy, will gain another tourist promotion tool that will follow successful examples around the world.

iGaming Brazil – How much do you think the evangelical sector can influence this decision-making process by the government?

Deputy Felipe Carreras – It is fallacious to argue that gambling will generate high social costs with the increase in the participation of pathological gamblers. The market is working clandestinely there, society knows and knows where to find it. Prohibition and discrimination are based only on customs. Legalizing and regulating the market will not make more or less people addicted, we have already presented alternatives to identify these profiles and act directly on the issue of addiction.

Today, who are the addicts among the 20 million Brazilians who bet daily on the Jogo do Bicho? Well, it is not possible to know due to the lack of specific legislation and the consequent absence of public policies to fill this gap.