Talks in Brazil on Legalization of Gambling
Cash-strapped Brazilian government is in talks with lawmakers over the legalizing of gambling to increase their revenues while Congress is baulking at President Dilma Rousseff's efforts at overcome the budget deficit by raising other related taxes. Pres. Rousseff's chief of staff, Aloizio Mercadante, has ran these idea with lawmakers recently after they had signalled to government that it will struggle to pass a controversial tax on financial transactions. Brazil banned casinos during 1946 and they outlawed bingo halls during 2007 because concerns of facilitated money laundering, however they do allow federal lotteries and horse racing betting. Proponents of gambling say that Brazil, who is facing their worst recession in 25 years, are no longer in a position to afford to forgo what could possibly be 23.5 billion Reais (Brazilian Real which is approximately $US5.9 billion), of annual gambling taxes — this is an amount that could probably have increased over the 2014 World Cup and also 2016 Olympic Games. Mauricio Quintella, who is a leader of the center-right Party in lower house of Cngress, and also one of the lawmakers who is tasked with leading consultations on the idea of legalization of gambling, said that Brazilians who want to gamble go to places, such as, Paraguay, Las Vegas, Montevideo, Las Vegas, then they leave all the money spent there. Mr. Quintella supports the legalization of gambling, however he says that the talks at this stage are preliminary. To win over public opinion in a country where large numbers of people feel that casinos are synonymous with corruption could prove to be a challenge. Many prior scandals have been linked to gambling, said an aide to the former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment during 2012, because he asked for bribes from an illegal lottery operator during 2004. Luiz Felipe Maia, a Sao Paulo-based lawyer said that talking about gaming and people immediately think of fraud, mafia, money laundering and addiction. Mr Maia is a specialist in gaming who believes that the Brazilian legal gambling market could very easily be worth about 70 billion Reais annually, and the government could take abut a third in taxes. José Robalinho Cavalcanti, who is the president of the Brazil national prosecutors' association, says that the legalization of bingo halls would be "a very big step backward”, however he noted that the period when they were legal was marked by money laundering and smuggling. He told he told the newspaper Correio Braziliense, that it remains to be seen if the government’s proposal of regulating bingos again would solve these problems but he expressed that he doubted it would.