Brazil: Gaming regulation faces opposition from the evangelical sector in Congress
After the enactment of the Provisional Measure that seeks to regulate gambling in Brazil, the next step will be the approval of a wider gaming bill that is currently blocked in the Senate and to which the Evangelical party has already shown its opposition.
The project, which, besides the online sector, will also regulate bingos and casinos, has strong support from the government. Both Vice-President Geraldo Alckmin, who met with businessmen in the sector; and the new Minister of Tourism, Celso Sabino, have shown their support.
“There is a project for the legalization of gambling, which is in the Senate, which may favor tourism. The project includes the legalization of resorts and casinos. I voted in favor of it”, said the current minister in 2022, when he voted in favor of the measure while he was a legislator.
Celso Sabino, Minister of Tourism
However, there are sectors of the Legislative Branch that are reluctant to support the project, which has the endorsement of the President of the Chamber, Arthur Lira. The evangelical bench, a sector with 130 deputies and 12 senators, has already declared that it will not support the measure.
Sóstenes Cavalcante, former leader of the Legislative bench in Rio de Janeiro and Vice-President of the Evangelical Parliamentary Front (FPE), and Cezinha de Madureira, of the PSD of São Paulo, stated that the measure is an ‘affront to the evangelical faith' and that the government should “combat gambling”. They also complained that they had not been previously informed of the measure.
The FPE tried to block the gambling regulation last April. One of the six Vice Presidents of the FPE, Marco Feliciano, had commented at the time that its members “would have no way to explain to the voter a vote in favor of the MP”, since “the bench's stand is this”.
While a sector of the government, led by the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad, seeks to hasten the approval of the bill, the evangelical bench is seeking the support of Catholic deputies and the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB).
It should be added that the resistance to the regulation also comes from some sectors of the government itself, such as the President of Embratur, Marcelo Freixo, who voted against the bill when he was a deputy and even made a publication in the networks in which he said that “legalizing gambling will increase indebtedness and break up families.”
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