Brazil has a very strict legal framework on gambling. Gambling is covered under the Law of Misdemeanors. This law was drafted with the aim of preserving social morality. This was in harmony with other social values stated in the Brazilian Act of 1941. The regulations and the provisions provided in the Law of Misdemeanors have considerably limited the gambling options which the Brazilians can enjoy.
Legally, gaming in Brazil refers to all games which individuals or entities can participate with the possibility of one party winning. These include both games of chance and skill. Brazilian laws are more strict on games of chance and less on the games where skill is the predominant determining factor on who wins the game. This article will discuss the types of gambling allowed in Brazil, the stance on gambling, and highlight the regulatory authorities which license and control gambling in Brazil.
Types of Legal and Illegal Gambling in Brazil
Most of the gambling games in Brazil are illegal. The Law of Misdemeanors bans all games of chance carried out with the aim to profit the gambling company and the winners of such games. Therefore, games such as betting, casinos, private lotteries, and bingo are prohibited. It must be noted that this law only prohibits games of chance. According to the regulations, games of chance are those where the outcome of the game is exclusively or predominantly determined more by chance than the skills of the players.
The law is soft on the poker game. This is because of the prevailing expert opinions that poker is a game of skill and not a game of chance.
Other legal games in Brazil include national lottery and horse races. The national lottery is not open to private individuals but is reserved to be carried out by the federal government with the chief aim of raising funds. Horse races are only licensed after the applicants prove that they are not fundamentally profit driven but have an aim of donating such proceedings to charity or the growth of agriculture.
Stance on Offline Gambling
Since most of the gambling activities are illegal in Brazil, most offline gambling undertakings are considered illegal. The law of misdemeanors unanimously overrules all games of chance. Thus operation of land-based gaming business and participation of players in such games is prohibited.
Stance on Online Gambling
The Brazilian law does not have a clause specifically dedicated to online gambling. However, considering the fact that the Brazilian law prohibits all games of chance, it can safely be said that online gambling is illegal in Brazil.
These restrictions only apply to gambling companies which would wish to operate within the Brazilin jurisdiction. Thus, there is a leeway for offshore companies which have their headquarters in other countries to provide online gambling to Brazilian citizens. There are also no IP address restrictions within Brazil and thus those interested could sign up on these international gaming websites and participate in the online games.
Stance on Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin Gambling
Brazilian Stock Exchange authorities allow the indirect investment into cryptocurrency ventures. Recently, one of the Brazilian bus fleet company opened an opportunity for passengers to pay their bus fare using bitcoins. Despite this positive environment in cryptocurrency use and deployment, Brazil has not given any provision for cryptocurrency gambling. Considering the fact that cryptocurrency gambling falls under games of chance, it is explicit to conclude that the law does not allow cryptocurrency gambling within Brazil.
Regulatory Authorities and Important Laws
Brazil has several bodies which oversee gambling in the country. These bodies and commissions include:
- Caixa Federal Bank: This bank is entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the national lottery operations.
- The Federal government: The federal government has the ultimate say on gaming in Brazil. This implies that the states and the Municipalities in Brazil cannot enact laws which contravene the federal laws on gaming.
- National Institute for Sports Development: This institute is responsible for controlling both games of chance and games of skill. It controls and supervises games such as horse races, football, and Bingo.
Important Laws on Gaming
- Law on Misdemeanors: There are clauses in the law of misdemeanors which explicitly rule out games of chance and term them to be illegal. This law also states that those who are found guilty will face a fine and imprisonment of up to 3 years.
- Criminal Convention Act (CCA): This law was enacted in 1942 and has undergone slight modifications. The act banned all games of chance. These games of chance are defined in the Act as those whose income entirely or predominantly depends on chance rather than skill.
Although Brazil has a huge population of over 200 million citizens the laws on gaming are quite strict and thus it may not be a good haven for establishing a landed gaming company. However, since the laws do not restrict off-shore gaming, international companies can take this advantage and offer online gaming services to Brazilian citizens.
The Brazilian players who choose to participate in these international online gambling activities will, also, not be on the wrong side of the law since the operations of such an international company is overseen by the regulatory bodies of the country where its headquarters are located.