Report Estimates Brazil’s Online Gaming Market Over $2.1 Billion

Anyone present at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino during the World Series of Poker can attest that some of the most exciting final tables are the ones that have a Brazilian in the running. Soccer-like chants in the romantic Portuguese language and green and yellow flags flying can bring a whole lot of excitement to the Rio, and the Brazilian passion is palpable.

The fulbol-crazed nation has had a big year for poker progress with 888Live stopping in Sao Paulo and the World Poker Tour going to Brazil for the first time earlier this year. But the online poker scene in the sixth-most populated country in the world still remains unregulated.

With the Brazilian Congress and Executive branch possibly working towards regulated online gaming, a report released last week by consulting firm KPMG estimates the Brazilian iGaming market, measured in Gross Gaming revenue (GGR), to be worth more than $2.1 billion (R$6.7 billion).

The report was commissioned by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), the largest trade association representing the online gambling industry. As stated on their website, the RGA is “committed to promoting a regulated and non-discriminatory environment for responsible licensed operators in the world’s remote gambling markets.”

Next stop on the safe and regulated online gaming train? Brazil.

Brazil’s iGaming Outlook

Brazil’s National Congress has been discussing legislative proposals for regulated online gaming and sports betting within the country’s borders for some time now, with a bill introduced by Senator Ciro Nogueira back in 2014. A version of that same legislation, Bill 186, gained momentum in 2016 gaining approval from Brazil’s Special Committee for National Development, but ultimately fell short of a full Senate vote.

According to the press release from the RGA, the report concludes that “a combination of responsible gambling measures, sensible and effective licensing requirements, and a workable taxation regime based on GGR would bring about the best possible outcome for all.”

One major argument for regulation of the market stems from the proliferation of underground gambling within the country. The Brazilian Legal Gaming Institute has estimated the revenue from underground and illegal gambling operations to be over $6 billion USD per year.

According to the press release, regulating the iGaming market “would also significantly reduce the size of the unregulated market which puts consumers at risk and operates beyond the reach of the Brazilian tax and legal authorities.”

CEO of the RGA Clive Hawkswood emphasizes in the press release the potential for established iGaming regulation models to succeed in Brazil.

“We have acquired valuable experience from a number of countries already regulating online gambling, most especially in Europe. The common theme in all those jurisdictions is a workable licensing regime open to international operators coupled with a GGR based tax model. We therefore strongly believe that if the Brazilian government follows these examples it will achieve sound public policy objectives.”

Time will tell whether the report’s findings have any effect on overcoming opposition in the fight for regulated iGaming in Brazil, but the contents seem promising for online poker proponents.

Lead image c/o Nicolas Raymond

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