Cases of match-fixingin football should accelerate the sports betting regulation
Photo: Jonas Pereira/Agência Senado

In addition to the General Sports Law project, another topic involving sports competitions has received the attention of the Senate in recent days: sports betting regulation. The subject gained strength with the advancement of Operation Maximum Penalty, by the Public Ministry of Goiás, which investigates a scheme to manipulate football games through betting.

Even without a project on the subject on the agenda, parliamentarians used the space of the House Plenary to criticize the interference of betting on football and point out the need for regulation in the sector. The debate was led by Senator Omar Aziz (PSD-AM) during the vote on the General Sports Law project (PL 1,825/2022), and also on Wednesday, 11.

“You rarely see a Brazilian who doesn’t support a certain team. But if we don’t take a position, the government doesn’t take a position, the National Congress doesn’t take a position on these sports bets that are taking place there, football will end, because they are buying players and will continue to buy football players. This turned into a general mess”, said Aziz.

Author of a bill on the subject, Senator Jorge Kajuru (PSB-GO) asked the President of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, to move forward with PL 845/2023. The text is also signed by Hamilton Mourão (Republicanos-RS).

The proposal foresees that the betting company has at least one branch in Brazil, pays BRL 20 million for a five-year authorization and collects taxes due on the prizes. According to the text, the bookmaker will also have to adopt actions to prevent compulsive gambling disorder and to protect minors and the elderly.

“President Pacheco, we have to put this project of ours on the agenda and we have to be the protagonist of it. We don’t need to wait for the government, which promises its provisional measure, but we don’t know if it will be complete like ours, if it will discuss all angles of this issue”, pointed out Kajuru.

The federal government has been discussing the sending of an PM to Congress with a view to regularizing sports betting. Kajuru informed that Pacheco will forward the proposal to the Constitution and Justice Commission (CCJ).

“The CCJ will start to play its part. I just wanted to add that we can’t be radical. There are well-intentioned businessmen who have come to my office who want to pay taxes,” said the senator.

“What they allege is that the way in which the Minister [of Finance, Fernando] Haddad placed the license of each bookmaker is disproportionate, because he established a value of R$30 million for each bookmaker. I made a proposal to Minister Haddad, he accepted the dialogue with these businessmen”, he added.

Impact and regularization of sports betting

A study by the Senate Legislative Consultancy entitled ‘The Online Betting Market’ analyzes the impacts and challenges for the sports betting regulation and points out that the market has grown rapidly since 2018 and has been attracting an increasingly younger audience.

The study highlights that in countries where this market is already regulated, such as the United Kingdom, in addition to the significant amounts moved in the economy, such as taxes or investments and hiring of professionals, several other aspects are impacted, in particular, the mental health of gamblers and the possibility of gambling manipulation.

“In this way, sports betting remains authorized in Brazil. However, the lack of regulation prevents this market from working properly, with the opening of companies in the country, tax collection and consumer protection”, highlight the consultants.

It is worth remembering that in December 2018, then President Michel Temer (MDB) issued a provisional measure that allowed fixed odds betting (as this type of sports betting is legally known). Converted into Law 13,756, of 2018, the norm provided for a period of two years (extendable for another two years) for the sector to be regulated.

Operation Maximum Penalty

According to investigations by the Public Ministry, a criminal group enticed players to manipulate game situations such as cards and corners. With this, the members of the organization guarantee the result of their sports bets.