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This month in iGaming: February 2023

February 27, 2023
3 min
1100

Betting regulations around the corner in Brazil, Curaçao gambling policy gets a new website, and Georgia limits online licensing

Is Brazilian sports betting finally imminent?

Multiple media outlets have reported that the long-awaited regulation of sports betting in Brazil may finally, finally be almost here.

According to an article by Brazilian journalist and sports commentator Paulo Vinicius Coelhos, we could see betting regulations in Brazil soon after Carnival.

The Ministry of Finance is reported to have finally produced the text of the long-awaited sports betting regulations, which could be reviewed by the Civil House and signed by President Lula da Silva before Rio residents have even finished sweeping up the confetti.

The news comes hot on the heels of the revelation of a recent match-fixing scandal in the country’s second-tier football league. Players on six separate teams were offered up to R$140,000 ($30,000) by representatives of criminal groups to influence the outcome of the games.

The match-fixing scandal adds a certain impetus to passing sports betting regulation in order to cut down on shady activity, as sports betting is currently authorized but has no regulations or guidelines to say what operators are and aren’t allowed to do.

In other movements in Latin America’s largest country, bill PLS 186/14, which would have legalized casino gaming after 70 years, was officially shelved after lingering in congress since 2016.

However, Marcelo Freixo, newly appointed president of the Brazilian Tourism Institute, has indicated that the institute is looking into the benefits of potentially legalizing land-based and online casino gaming — specifically, the way that casinos can boost tourism revenue, meaning that another casino gaming bill, 442/91, could make it through congress.

However, given the strident opposition of the Brazilian congress’s sizable Evangelical bloc to all forms of gambling, any casino gaming bill would go through the political wringer before coming anywhere near the president’s desk — if it makes it out of congress at all.

Curaçao launches new website

When the island of Curaçao accepted COVID relief money from the Dutch government, it also promised to act on the Netherlands’ longstanding request to crack the whip on its gambling sector.

Long known as one of the world’s most preeminent jurisdictions for online gambling, Curaçao’s licensing system is often criticized for a perceived lack of transparency. In the current system, there are four master license holders, who set their own terms and conditions for sublicensees.

According to the revamped regulations, there will be a new regulator — The Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA) — which will issue both B2B and B2C licenses, as well as a new schedule of fees. Licensees will be required to have 3 key employees working on the island and be subject to enhanced money laundering controls.

While the timeline for the rollout of the new regulations was recently pushed back due to input from industry stakeholders (they were due this month), the island’s Ministry of Finance has introduced a new website — curacaogaming.info — where all information regarding gambling licensing and regulations will be published in the future.

Existing sublicensees have no need to worry. They’re expected to be grandfathered into the new system and given a 12-month transitional license, during which time they can get up to speed with the new regulations.

Georgia to introduce new online casino restrictions

Georgian Premier minister Irakli Garibashvili has approved restrictions preventing all but holders of land-based licenses from offering online gambling.

The decision comes just ten days after parliamentarians in the Transcaucasian nation introduced a draft law that would have allowed for separate licensing. The draft law included a schedule of separate fees for land-based establishments opening an online branch and purely online enterprises.

The government is also allegedly planning to offer a single, exclusive license to conduct online gambling for a fee of GEL 5 million (€1.6 million).

The new restriction comes after a series of measures to curb problem gambling in the country, including raising the gambling age for Georgians to 25 and higher taxes on gambling revenues.

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