Imagem: Agência Brasil / Tânia Rêgo

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) recently generated controversy by severely criticizing gambling. Furthermore, the president of Brazil equated the activity to casinos and Jogo do Bicho.

At an event in Rio de Janeiro, he stated that there are no limits to so-called bets, despite having sanctioned, in December 2023, the law that regulates sports betting and online casino games.

Lula blames advertising for promoting online betting

Lula highlighted that, currently, online betting is so present in people’s lives that it is possible to bet 24 hours a day, highlighting the intense advertising of these companies on TV programs and events such as Carnival in Rio.

Thus, the president also made a comparison between online betting and casinos. He highlighted that, while casinos are prohibited in Brazil because they are considered gambling, online betting is permitted.

Being online, the critical thing is that anyone, from 5 to 90 years old, can access it without restrictions.

However, the regulation of online betting was a project defended by the current Federal Government, with the aim of taxing companies and increasing revenue.

On December 30th of last year, the president sanctioned the law that determines a 12% tax on the revenue from bookmakers, minus the prizes paid.

However, the regulatory process is still ongoing, under the responsibility of the Prizes and Betting Secretariat, linked to the Ministry of Finance, created at the end of last month.

The minister of the portfolio, Fernando Haddad, was very pleased with the approval of the project in the National Congress on December 21, 2023.

However, José Francisco Manssur, special advisor to the Ministry of Finance and one of those responsible for the sports betting regulatory process, left the government last week.

Lula criticizes online betting and compares it to gambling
Photo: Agência Brasil

Manssur’s departure is part of a ministerial restructuring, while Haddad clarified that Centrão did not influence Manssur’s dismissal from the ministry.

“Manssur was here to format the bets project, which was a very well-run process by him. He is a professional of the highest quality, but anyway, upon request, he will face other challenges there. It has nothing to do with that , no”, said the minister.

According to Haddad, Marcos Pinto, Secretary of Economic Reforms at the Department, will announce Manssur’s replacement soon.

Petrobras is praised at event

During the event, Lula also defended Petrobras, highlighting that the company has been the target of slander and privatization attempts over the years.

Petrobras announced that it will invest R$250 million in cultural projects throughout Brazil. This will happen through the Rouanet and Audiovisual incentive laws.

Thus, the president highlighted the importance of culture for the Brazilian people, stating that “culture interests the people as much as a plate of food”. Finally, Lula highlighted that the company is a fundamental part of the country’s history and economy.