Brazilian lawmakers might move to legalize gambling and an Indian state bans gambling.
Brazil buzzing ahead of regulation
While it’s been overshadowed by the prospect of regulated sports betting, the question of legalized casino gaming has long hung over Latin America’s largest gambling market.
Last February, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies passed an expansive bill that would legalize a range of gambling activities, including both land-based and casino gaming. However, the fate of the bill has been uncertain, with a sizable bloc of the country’s lawmakers in the upper house vehemently opposed to gambling on religious grounds and former President Jair Bolsonaro swearing that any law legalizing gambling would be vetoed as soon as it crossed his desk.
But the political tide has turned, and current president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva doesn’t seem to share his predecessor’s views.
Now, Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco has announced that the gaming expansion bill which has lingered in the country’s congress for over a year will finally be addressed in May or June of this year. In fact, revenues from sports betting and other kinds of gaming have already been factored into Brazil’s national budget.
This month also saw the announcement of the country’s tax regime for sports betting.
Government revenues from sports betting will come to the tune of 15% of GGR; licenses will cost BRL30 million ($5.92 million) and last for five years. During a public hearing, lawmakers announced that the tax rate was based on the UK’s taxation model, which is intended to sponsor social programs while remaining low enough to promote competition.
However, it’s been noted by several legal minds that the 15% tax rate is exclusive of an additional 9.25% social security contribution and local municipal taxes, which would drive the total tax rate up to nearly 30%.
The Ministry of Finance has also stated that bettor winnings will be taxed at 30%, stoking criticism that players will simply ignore the legal market and continue playing on offshore platforms.
The intricacies of India
Driven by a huge population, a growing middle class, and spreading communications infrastructure, India’s iGaming market is experiencing a massive boom.
The country’s legal landscape, though, can be tricky; without a single set of federal-level regulations, some states regulate gambling while others ban it.
The state of Tamil Nadu, for example, has put the final nail in the coffin for online gambling, passing a ban on all real-money chance-based games, from sports betting to poker and rummy.
The ban follows on from an ordinance put in place while the state’s Supreme court deliberated a case where a lower court had overturned an earlier gambling prohibition. The law also enables the government to create the Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Authority, which would be allowed to organize permitted forms of gaming.
At a nationwide level, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will begin ordering payment processors to block payments to offshore and domestic illegal gambling sites.
The MeitY also published Information Technology Amendment Rules 2023 in an official gazette this month. The amendments to online gambling rules in the country included definitions of online games and online real money games, as well as enabling MeitY to create as many self-regulatory bodies as it sees fit for the purpose of verifying legitimate online real money games.