Pressão de religiosos dificulta aprovação de PL dos cassinos no Senado
Saulo Cruz/Agência Senado

The issue of releasing casinos is still something sensitive to society, but there was a favorable scenario for the approval of the project being processed in the Senate. However, the release of casinos, Jogo do Bicho and other forms of gaming changed the climate drastically.

The discussion was so great that religious leaders managed, once again, for the vote by the Senate Constitution and Justice Committee (CCJ) to be postponed.

Religious mobilization against casinos

On the eve of the vote, the cell phones of several parliamentarians were bombarded with a video of pastor Silas Malafaia. He asked evangelicals to put pressure on CCJ members, stating that “two thirds of these senators will vote for re-election in 2026” and threatening to denounce anyone who voted in favor of the project in the elections.

Silas Malafaia is against the casino bill
Image: Silas Malafaia (Disclosure)

The CNBB (National Conference of Brazilian Bishops) also joined the discussion, sending a public note to Catholic senators. Thus, the note warned about the moral and social harm of betting.

On the morning of the vote, the office of senator Eduardo Girão (Novo-CE) mapped the votes and concluded that there was enough support to block the proposal. Girão, one of the opposition leaders, quickly withdrew his request to postpone the vote. He stated that it was necessary to make it clear to society how each senator was thinking about the issue.

Then, senators who previously supported the release of the games, such as Eduardo Braga (MDB-AM) and Rogério Carvalho (PT-SE), started asking for the outcome to be postponed. According to senator Carlos Viana (Podemos-MG), parliamentarians realized that they “will lose” if they vote in favor.

Impact of the bill in Brazil

The project has been discussed in the National Congress for more than 30 years. Despite attempts to advance, opposition from the evangelical bench and conservative sectors has always been an obstacle. But, in recent years, the international lobby has grown and become stronger, promising billion-dollar investments.

At that moment, tax collection began to be attractive. The current text allows the creation of casinos integrated into leisure complexes, such as hotels, shopping malls and restaurants. The proposal authorizes up to three casino resorts per state, depending on population and territorial extension.

But only São Paulo, with more than 25 million inhabitants, could install three casino resorts. Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, with populations between 15 and 25 million, could have two casinos each.

Amazonas and Pará, due to the exception for territories with more than 1 million km², could also have two casinos each. The other states and the Federal District would have the right to one casino-resort each.

Therefore, if approved, the proposal legalizes gambling, limiting the installation of one for every 700 thousand inhabitants per state. Rio de Janeiro, with 16 million inhabitants, could open up to 22 gambling establishments.

Bingo houses would operate in physical, electronic and video bingo formats, the latter limited to 400 machines per establishment.

The accreditation limit will be one bingo house for every 150 thousand inhabitants per city. While turf betting establishments could also operate bingos and video bingos.

Senators demand government position on casinos

With the uncertainty of the scenario, two government senators stated that the Lula (PT) government must define a position on the proposal. “The PT was always against it. It was Lula who ended bingo in Brazil [in 2004, after suspicion of corruption]. If there is any ethics left from this government, let it demonstrate it now,” said Girão.

Senado Casinos
President of the CCJ, Davi Alcolumbre postponed the vote until next week. Photo: Reproduction / TV Senado

Therefore, an extraordinary deliberative meeting of the Constitution and Justice Commission (CCJ) was scheduled for next Wednesday (19). The president of the commission, senator Davi Alcolumbre (União-AP), made the announcement to those present.

Senator Irajá, the project’s rapporteur, estimates revenue of up to R$40 billion with the regulation of new gambling modalities.

Furthermore, Irajá remains optimistic for the approval of the project, reinforcing that the number of tourists visiting casinos and bingos in the country could double in up to eight years.