The state of gambling in Brazil is much as it has been for three-quarters of a century – in most cases it is illegal. However, as other countries around the world from Japan to Sweden have liberalized their laws to welcome newly captured revenues and give players protections under the law, the dam appears as if it is about to burst in Brazil.
To be sure, President Jair Bolsonaro is almost certain to veto any bill that comes before him but Deputies and Senators in the country’s congress are also almost certain to do what used to be unthinkable – override the president’s veto and draft a legislative decree.
Bills to change myriad things in former President Eurico Gaspar Dutra’s 1946 decree (law 9215) which closed over 70 casinos overnight simply by publishing the decree have bubbled up from time to time and with more frequency in recent years. However, never has the subject enjoyed such strong and widespread support from a cross-section of lawmakers as well as a majority of citizens in Brazil.
Brazilians are known to gamble, and sports betting is their favorite way to bet. A recent report by BtoBet (see Brazil Betting Focus .PDF here). Sports betting was legalized several years ago in Brazil, but the government has not yet set up a licensing framework or even terms for those licenses so each year sees even more unlicensed operators make a living off the residents who enjoy virtually no player protections.
Sportsbetting Legalized But Not Yet Regulated
Aside from sportsbetting which enjoys no framework for regulation, Brazilians are only allowed to play the government lotteries, bet on authorized horse racing, or play games of skill such as poker or fantasy-type games. All other gambling is currently illegal.
In addition to the integrated casino resort bills that are on the National Congress’s agenda for 2022, the online gambling bill, known as Bill 442/91 “Gambling Regulatory Framework” was put on a fast track late last year when the Chamber of Deputies voting in the affirmative on a request for urgency – that means the bill can go straight to the floor at any time and without further debate or commission input.
That bill is expected to be voted on this month…
Regulating sportsbetting could open the door to one of the biggest player pools in the world. As of 2020 the Brazilian sports betting market generated revenues amounting to around BRL 7 billion (€1.16 billion/US$1.31 billion) – and that was during a year that the world health emergency brought sporting events to a grinding halt over much of the globe.
Those numbers come from a study published by Grupo Globo – LatAms biggest multimedia group. The study also stated that the market doubled and nearly tripled between 2018 and 2020.
Brazilian Online Casino Player Favorites
According to the report, “When it comes to online casino, 78% of the participants who took part in the study indicated they play roulette. Blackjack also was highly popular resulting in 66% of the answers, 64% of the participants said they play table games, slots featured in 63% of game choices, video poker featured in 61% of the total votes, whilst 50% of the participants also indicated they play live dealer games.”
Total monthly stakes for Brazilian players were relatively low by western standards, but the economy there might explain that. The popularity of sports and the inevitable crossover of sports bettors into casino games as well as the anticipated total number of players still make it a relatively to very attractive market for some operators.
While about 18% of respondents said they bet up to BRL 30 per month (~$6), a full 10% stated that they bet more than BRL 500 (~$100).
A plurality of players, at 33% said they bet at 2 different online sites, 26% at only 1, and 29% on 3-5 different sites. The balance, 12% use 6 or more sites in any given month.
In order of importance in choosing a new site, the players said their first consideration was fast payouts, followed by bonuses, payment methods, odds, and broad content in markets and games.
Technology Profile of Brazil
With a population of 213.3 million and 205.4 million internet connections, it is surmised that 96.3% of the population is connected. Of course, that’s not an actual number as any given person can own or control more than one connection. However, the number of internet users at 160m represents a penetration of some 75% which is higher than in most Latin American countries. Smartphones are the most popular way to connect to the internet.
153.7m people are mobile internet users and the average time spent online per day was 10 hours and 8 minutes – about three times as long as the typical German spends online.
With the increase in data usage over the last couple of years due to the world health emergency, most countries enjoyed unexpected increases in internet connection speeds, Brazil was no exception. While mobile bandwidth speeds only increased 18% from the 2020 numbers, due to mobile networks already working at near their technological potential – fixed internet speeds posted a 60.2% increase over the previous year to an average of 78.10 MBPS.
”Brazil Betting Focus” (.pdf), BtoBet Reports, February 19, 2021