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Brazil May Follow U.S. Online Gambling Example


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Unfortunately for Brazilian online gambling fans, the country’s
government is reportedly looking to follow the example of the United States’
regarding its online gambling policies, by introducing a law to make it illegal
for Brazil’s banks and financial institutions to process any online
gambling-related payments.

The piece of legislature being proposed by the Brazilian government is very
similar to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that
was passed by U.S. Congress in October 2006 and signed into law shortly
thereafter by then President, George W. Bush. UIGEA is still in effect in the
United States.

Although the American online gambling ban has drawn much criticism from within
the United States and abroad – often described as ‘prohibitionist’ and
‘draconian’ in nature – it has not seemed to deter Brazilian government
officials from travelling down the same road and risking the wrath of its many
online gambling fans.

The Brazilian version of UIGEA, called Bill PLS 121/2008, is being spearheaded
by Brazilian Senator, Magno Malta, who has been pushing for it to be passed for
over a year. But luckily for Brazil’s online gamblers, before a bill is passed
in the country, it must wind its way bureaucratically through the halls of
power.

Every bill must traverse through multiple parliamentary committees before it
becomes subject to a comprehensive debate and voting in Brazil’s Senate, Chamber
of Deputies and ultimately in both houses of its Congress. The Bill was recently
advanced to the government’s Communications and Technology Committee.

Currently, as in many other parts of the world, online gambling is illegal in
Brazil. However, there is no infrastructure in place to prevent foreign online
gambling firms from operating in the South American country or Brazilian online
gambling fans from frequenting their websites. Hence, Brazilian lawmakers are
eager to act.

If Bill PLS 121/2008 is passed, it’s possible that all gambling in Brazil – land
and internet-based – will be banned. This is unlike in the U.S. where online
gambling is banned, but betting on horse races and lotteries is allowed, to the
chagrin of foreign gambling firms who accuse the U.S. of discriminatory trade
practices.

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