Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Brazil

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The Gávea Hippodrome in Rio de Janeiro where horse races are held regularly

Gávea Hippodrome, Rio de Janeiro

 

Laws regulating gambling in Brazil are quite complex, and while most games of chance are by and large illegal, gambling is still prevalent in the country in legal and semi-legal forms. Complications are in part a result of the fact that Brazil is a Federative Republic consisting of 26 states, which have the authority to decide on the legal status of certain forms of gambling autonomously.

The basis of Brazilian gambling regulations is the Criminal Contravention Act of 1941 banning all games of chance including sports betting (though casinos were still allowed). The law is technically still in effect, and gambling is only legal in Brazil if a law specifically enabling that form of gambling has been passed.* A further ban on brick and mortar casinos has been in effect since 1946.

Naturally, neither the 1941 nor the 1946 law makes any mention of online gambling. It is assumed, that participating in games of chance online falls under the general ban on gambling, and is illegal in Brazil. Online gambling is nonetheless prevalent in Brazil, and the government seems to lack the resources to prevent this.

To date, there have been no reports of individual players prosecuted for playing on international gambling sites. A proposition has been made to introduce restrictions to payment in order to block Brazilian players from gambling on international gambling sites, but no such bill has been passed yet.

 

*Source: Gambling Regulatory Report (GamblingCompliance)

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Brazil

 

Online casino gambling in Brazil: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Casino gambling has been illegal in Brazil since 1946. Prior to that the country had a rather impressive casino industry with Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais as its focal points. However, in 1946 all casino licenses were revoked, and casino gambling, which had been exempt from the Criminal Contravention Act, was completely banned.

The regulations regarding slot machines are not as simple. Originally considered to be banned under the Criminal Contravention Act, slot machines were legalised in the 90s along with Bingo. In 2004 slot machines were banned for 9 months after a huge scandal broke out over government officials extorting bribes from gambling bosses. The legal status of slot machines is currently unclear: while it is mostly considered illegal, gaming halls continue to operate undisturbed.

Online casino gambling may also be considered illegal in accordance with the Criminal Contravention Act’s complete ban on gambling. However, there are no actual laws prohibiting Brazilian gamblers from playing on international casino sites. A bill to prevent playing on foreign online gambling sites by banning payments (as in the USA) is being considered, but has not been passed.

 

 

Bingo in Brazil

 

Online Bingo in Brazil: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Bingo is also a controversial form of gambling in Brasil. There are several Bingo halls operating in the country, though it is unknown whether they are run legally or illegally. This is a result of contradicting laws: the Criminal Contravention Act banned all forms of gambling including Bingo, but the game was legalised in the 90s by a now abolished law. Bingo, along with slot machines, was explicitly banned for 9 month after the 2004 bribery scandal involving government officials.

The Brazilian government does not issue any licences for online Bingo operators. There are, however, no laws prohibiting the participation in Bingo games on foreign online platforms for Brazilian players. The government has plans to block foreign online gambling sites, most likely including Bingo platforms, but no actual steps have been taken.

 

 

Poker in Brazil

 

Online Poker in Brazil: legal (unregulated)

 

Poker is considered by Brazilian laws to be a game of skill, not of chance, and may be played legally. No specific licenses exist for operators of establishments offering Poker games. Poker is also quite popular in the country, with the largest live event being the Brazilian Series of Poker run by PokerStars.

There are no online Poker sites based in Brazil, and operating such a website would likely require a license. Brazilian players are free to play on any international Poker site.

 

 

Sports betting in Brazil

 

Online sports betting in Brazil: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Sports betting in Brazil was banned in 1941 by the Criminal Contravention Act. Despite this, land-based sportsbooks and betting shops have been in operation for several years undisturbed. Lotteries, on the other hand, are legal in Brazil, and the national lottery run by the Caixa Econômica Federal bank offers drawings based on the results of football matches.

Horse racing is exempt from the Criminal Contravention Act, and may be enjoyed freely and legally in Brazil.

While arguments have been made pro and contra, Brazil currently does not give out online sports betting licences. The sports lottery run by Caixa has no online version either. Still, Brazilian gamblers may freely wager on international online sports betting sites, though attempts have been made to block such websites.

 

 

Lottery in Brazil

 

Online lottery in Brazil: legal, state monopoly

 

Lottery is one of the few forms of gambling clearly legal in Brazil. The national lottery is run by the Caixa Econômica Federal bank, and offers several games including sports lottery (Lotogol). In addition, 17 of the 26 states have their own lottery.

Online tickets have been sold for the most popular lottery in Brazil, the Mega-Sena since 2011. In addition, Brazilian gamblers may also participate in international lottery draws.

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Brazil

 

Bitcoin gambling in Brazil: illegal, players are not prosecuted

 

Bitcoin itself is legal in Brazil and has been regulated since 2013. Brazil is also one of the countries where the Bitcoin brokerage firm BitcoinToYou is physically present*. The popularity of the cryptocurrency is expected to show steady increase.

Operating Bitcoin casinos, on the other hand, is likely considered illegal in Brazil, as all other forms of non-specifically regulated gambling. Still, Brazilian gamblers may freely partake in Bitcoin gambling, as there are no laws restricting players themselves

 

*Source: Bitcoin in Brazil Shows Promise for BTC Casinos (Best Bitcoin Casino)

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Brazil

 

Due to the unclear legal status of online gambling in Brazil most online gambling websites accept players from the country.

The following websites accept players from Brazil.

 

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BGO casino – accepting players from Brazil

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BGO online bookmaker accepting players from Brazil

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32 Red casino accepting players from Brazil

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32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Brazil

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Black Lotus casino accepting players from Brazil

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015.10. 15

 

Summary
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Brazil
Description
An overview of the legal status of gambling in Brazil.
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2 Responses

  1. AL says:

    What are the most common methods of payment for these online gaming sites in Brazil?

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