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Zona de Azar Brazil – Minister Urged to Reveal Head of Brazil’s Secretariat for Betting

Brazil.- 18th March 2024 Fernando Haddad, Brazil’s Finance Minister, faces mounting pressure to appoint a President for the Secretariat of Bets and Prizes, a crucial step needed to finalize the launch of Brazil’s federal sports betting marketplace.

In Congress, frustration is growing as the Ministry of Finance has not yet released the final schedule for launching the ‘Bets’ regime, as authorized by President Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva on January 2.

The appointment of the leadership for the ‘Secretaria de Prêmios e Apostas (SPA)’ is reportedly a major obstacle for Minister Haddad, with political interests at play regarding the governance of the Bets regime.

In February, the Ministry of Finance announced the completion of plans to establish a ‘Special Secretariat’ to oversee and regulate gambling activities.

As outlined in the Ministry’s decree: “SPA will operate within the Ministry of Finance to strengthen its structure and enhance government oversight in regulating the fixed-odds betting market, online gaming, and fulfilling legal obligations related to lotteries and commercial promotions.”

The Ministry has designated SPA’s main responsibility as monitoring and reporting on gambling activities. Additionally, SPA will supervise the market conduct of licensed operators, with oversight provided by “eight governors, each with specific responsibilities related to Brazil’s economic and financial governance.”

Final procedures require the Ministry of Finance to appoint a President for SPA to lead a team of ’38 experts’ overseeing the Bets marketplace.

Initially, it was expected that Minister Haddad would appoint undersecretary José Francisco Manssur as President of SPA. However, Manssur resigned suddenly in February following a public dispute with Centrão (Big Centre), a powerful bloc in Congress supported by Arthur Lira, the current President of the Chamber of Deputies.

The dispute stemmed from Centrão’s criticism of the tax allocation measures proposed by the Ministry of Finance for the Bets regime.

The bloc is accused of attempting to influence the structure of SPA to ensure greater influence by the Ministry of Sport – a department headed by Andre Fufuca, a Centrão member and member of the Progressive Party (PP).

Attention now turns to Minister Haddad and his forthcoming appointment, as bipartisan interests continue to hinder the launch of the Bets regime despite federal approval.

Local media reports suggest that Rogério Carvalho, Senator from Sergipe, has put forth his nomination to become the inaugural President of the Secretariat.

However, Haddad favors the appointment of advisor Marcos Barbosa Pinto, the current Secretary of Economic Reforms in the PT government, to ensure close control over the tax allocation model of the Bets regime.

The tax framework of the Bets regime remains a divisive issue among lawmakers. In February, the PT government was instructed to reassess tax exemptions on a yearly player prize/winnings threshold of R$2,112 (€400) – a measure vetoed by Lula upon signing off on Bets.

Edited by: @MaiaDigital


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