Brazil’s Casino hopes hinge on legislatuur evangelical wing

Brazil’s Casino legalization efforts may hing on the support of evangelical Christian lawmakers, who do not seem wild about rracing new sins for their flock.

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, recently met with members of the central ‘ bloc of the federal chamber of deputies, who urged him to make a proposal to authorize casino gambling. Bolsonaro has previously stated that he is personally opposed to the expansion of the games of chance, but also believes that the issue should eventually be left to individual Brazilian states to decide whether they want casinos in their backyard.

However, while Bolsonaro told central delegates that he was open to ‘talking’ about casino authorization, he seemed to veto Parliament’s important evangelical bloc as to whether the idea extends beyond the talk phase.

One of the members of that block is Marcelo Crivella, mayor of Rio de Janeiro and an evangelical bishop. Rio is one of the most desirable locations for international casino operators and Crivella has signaled its support for okaying a casino in his city, provided that the game floor would only be accessible to international tourists.

Sao Paolo is another important venue of interest among international casino operators and the Secretary of State for Tourism has said he would welcome the economic development opportunities that casinos could bring to an area whereas 16% of the nation’s unemployed.

However, Deputy Marco Feliciano, one of the leaders of the chamber’s evangelical faction, just declared last month that the religious faction was “totally” against legalization of casinos and there was no argument that could be made to their thoughts change.

Brazil is currently drafting regulations for driving land and online sports betting after the former President of Brazil signed the law a year ago. Separate legislation relating to casino demand has difficulty finding sufficient support to ensure passage.

The uncertainty is not stopping casino operators from pressing the problem. Las Vegas Sands Boss Sheldon Adelson has made no secret of his desire for a Brazilian presence and has met Brazilian officials both at home and in Nevada to discuss the possibilities. After originally pitching an $8b integrated Resort in Rio, Adelson has since said that Sands could spend up to $15b on two homes in Rio and Sao Paolo.

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