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From A Legal Standpoint: Neil Montgomery Speaks About Gambling Regulations In Brazil

Neil Montgomery is the Founding and Managing Partner of Brazilian law firm Montgomery & Associados, at which he heads the law firm’s Minds Sports, Draws, Gaming, Betting and Lottery Practice Group. He has worked as a lawyer in London and São Paulo and specializes in advising multinational companies in investing and doing business in Brazil and Brazilian companies expanding their businesses overseas. Here you can find the latest gambling news that touches upon the most important industry topics. Neil, as far as we know, the most popular gambling activities are currently prohibited in Brazil. Are there any chances that the government will slacken them? After more than 70 years of banning games of chance (including sports betting) in Brazil, the Brazilian government managed to get the Brazilian Congress to approve the bill of law. It has resulted in the enactment of Law No. 13,756, in December 2018, which legalizes fixed-odds sports betting as a form of lottery. The law still awaits to be regulated. The Federal Government needs to regulate the law by the end of 2022 and has announced on several occasions that such regulations, in the form of a Presidential Decree, are to be issued by the end of this year or at the beginning of 2021. All other games of chance (where luck has an exclusive or preponderant influence on the outcome of the game) are considered to be a criminal misdemeanor under article 50 of the Criminal Contraventions Law. There are also two bills of law (namely, House of Representatives Bill No. 442/1991 and Senate Bill No. 186/2014), which are being reviewed at the Congress, that aim to legalize a broad range of land-based and online games of chance. Further, there is also a claim arising from the State of Rio Grande do Sul awaiting judgment by the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF), in which it is argued that the provisions of article 50 of the Criminal Contraventions Law, which predates the Federal Constitution of 1988, have become unconstitutional upon the enactment of the Federal Constitution. This case has been recognized as being of “general public interest”, which means that its decision will be a binding precedent on all lower courts, and, therefore, we will be able to see the lifting of the restrictions of the ban on gambling in general in Brazil without any regulation. Furthermore, and in the context of such a leading case, all judicial proceedings regarding this matter have been suspended until the leading case is decided by the STF. Do Brazilian operators find loopholes to provide services? As far as online gambling is concerned, before 2015, there has been no specific mention of such a form of gambling in the Criminal Contravention Law. On August 4, 2015, Federal Law No. 13,155/2015 has amended paragraph 2 of Article 50 of the Brazilian Criminal Contraventions Law to specify that players who are betting online are equally subject to the payment of a fine.

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