July 21, 2024

Brazil is one step closer to becoming a host country of integrated resorts featuring casinos.

Brazil casino bill gambling
Christ the Redeemer stands over Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian seaside city that could become home to two integrated casino resorts. Brazil lawmakers this week advanced a casino bill. (Image: Getty)

More than two years after Bill No. 2234 — legislation to authorize Las Vegas-style casinos in the world’s fifth-largest country by area — passed the Chamber of Deputies, the statute is finally finding favor in the Federal Senate. After many months of deliberations and alarms regarding the dangers of casino gambling rang by the Christian caucus, the measure narrowly passed the Senate Constitution and Justice Committee by a 14-12 vote on Wednesday.

The committee’s tally forwards the casino bill to the full Senate floor for a final vote. If a simple majority lends support to the gaming initiative, the legislation will move to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s desk for ratification.

Lula has been supportive of gaming expansion since assuming office in January 2023. Last December, Lula signed Bill No. 3626 to authorize the formation of Brazil’s sports betting and iGaming industries.

Casino Details

Casino gambling has been banned in Brazil since 1946, but Bill No. 2234 would repeal the gaming prohibition. Lula has maintained his predecessor’s belief that Brazil should legalize casinos to further develop its tourism industry and better compete for international expos and conventions that could be held at large-scale resorts.

During his time in office, President Jair Bolsonaro said Brazil should establish tourist centers and integrated leisure complexes with casinos. He said Brazil should be home to its own versions of Cancun, the Mexican city on the Yucatan Peninsula famed for its many resort casinos.

Bill sponsor Sen. Iraja Abreu (Social Democratic Party-Tocantins) said it’s time Brazil gets off the casino sidelines.

We can no longer lose this great opportunity that other competing countries have already understood and is seen to generate jobs, income, and taxes, which will obviously be reversed into benefits for the Brazilian people in the most essential areas, such as health, education, social, and infrastructure,” Iraja said.

Bill No. 2234 would allow resorts with a minimum of 100 hotel rooms that also have restaurants and bars, as well as meeting facilities, to pursue casino licenses. Licenses would be capped at one casino in each state and the Federal District, though Sao Paulo would be permitted up to three casinos. Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas, and Para would be allowed two gaming destinations.

Licensed casinos would need to pay R$600,000 (US$110,800) every three months to the federal government for the gaming rights. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by the casinos would be subject to a 17% federal tax.

Sands Plan

Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino operator in terms of market capitalization at $33 billion, has for many years expressed interest in developing an integrated resort casino in Brazil.

Sands is famed for its Marina Bay Sands destination in Singapore and its many casinos in China’s Macau. Sands previously developed and operated The Venetian and Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip and Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.

Sands’ late founder, Sheldon Adelson, traveled to Brazil in 2017 where he pitched an $8 billion casino complex. Seven years later, it isn’t clear whether Sands leadership retains its late founder’s ambition to invest in Brazil.

Sands in recent years has been focused on Texas, specifically Dallas, for an integrated resort casino that could accompany an NBA arena. Dr. Miriam Adelson, Mr. Adelson’s widow who remains the casino company’s largest shareholder with a 46% stake, last year purchased a controlling interest in the NBA Dallas Mavericks from Mark Cuban.

The post Brazil Lawmakers Vote in Support of Integrated Resort Casino Bill appeared first on Casino.org.

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