Brazil’s rollout grinds to a halt while Peru moves to regulate, a major brand pulls out of Germany, and Kyrgyzstan legalizes casino gaming.
Brazil pumps the brakes while Peru shifts into gear
Few stories have captured the iGaming world’s attention as much as Brazil’s recent legalization of sports betting.
After decades of a flat-out ban that (as always) drove gambling underground, Brazilian lawmakers finally voted to legalize sports betting in 2018. However, the market is still in limbo; President Jair Bolsonaro has yet to sign the sports betting regulations.
In the wake of the progress on sports betting, the country’s Chamber of Deputies also passed a bill that would legalize all forms of gambling, including land-based and online casino gaming.
But gambling legislation is often at the mercy of political winds.
Senate leader Carlos Potinho announced that there would be no new gambling legislation until after October’s general election. Bolsonaro’s waning popularity has him trailing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in some polls, and Potinho has stated that issues like gambling would be better addressed after the election, with “legitimacy revalidated by the vote.”
But that doesn’t mean sportsbooks and casinos can open their doors the day after Bolsonaro and his supporters are re-elected.
The parliament’s fervently anti-gambling evangelical bloc, which is closely aligned with Bolsonaro, has made it perfectly clear that they’ll oppose any gambling legislation, and Bolsonaro himself has said he’d veto any law legalizing casino gaming. So, while sports betting still seems like a sure thing, casino gaming is a different story.
Elsewhere in Latin America, however, authorities in Peru are looking to move from a gray market to a regulated one.
The Peruvian market has been booming in recent years, with the Covid-19 pandemic giving online gaming an extra boost. In light of the industry’s growth, the country’s congress is considering not one but two new bills — one to regulate sports betting and one to regulate casino gaming.
Tax revenues from sports betting would be diverted towards the Peruvian Sports Institute.
Kindred pulls out of Germany
Germany’s transition to being a regulated market has been rocky.
In April, we covered how operators were chafing against bet and deposit limits imposed by authorities. With a €1,000 per month deposit limit and a €1 per spin bet limit for slots, online casino operators in Germany have their work cut out for them when it peeling payers away from black market operators without similar restrictions.
While some brands are trying to make it work, others are pulling the plug.
Kindred Group has announced that it will not follow through with its application for sports betting and virtual slot licenses and completely pull out of the German market as of 1 July.
The company cited the country’s slow licensing process and high level of restrictions as the reasons for its exit from the market, claiming that in their current state, regulations make it nearly impossible for operators to compete with black-market offerings.
In contrast, Kindred’s Unibet brand is already up and running in the Netherlands. Kindred’s decision is the most recent — and perhaps most drastic — indication that German lawmakers may need to reconsider the conditions they expect the market to operate under.
Kyrgyzstan is the latest country to act on the fact that legalizing gambling can provide a boost to state revenues.
A newly passed law legalizes online and land-based casino gaming in the country. Casinos had been banned in 2012; slot halls and retail bookmakers were banned in 2015.
Land-based casinos will have to fulfill several requirements regarding their size and location — they must be located in a hotel or restaurant and have at least five gaming tables, except for those located in the capital, Bishkek, which will need 10. Players won’t be able to use credit cards or loans to gamble.
However, nothing is changing for Kyrgyz citizens themselves, who will still be prohibited from gambling; only foreigners will be allowed to play.
This follows similar laws in east Asia, where countries allow for a certain number of casinos which only accept foreigners as a way to bring in foreign investment and build up tourist infrastructure.