Caesars Supports Sweeping Gambling Overhaul in Brazil

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Representatives for Las Vegas casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. met with Brazilian politicians on Tuesday to discuss the state of Brazil’s tourism industry and what reforms would be needed to boost the country’s economy, local news outlets reported.

The Caesars representatives were received Tuesday afternoon by Mansueto de Almeida, Secretary of Fiscal Energy and Lottery Monitoring at Brazil’s Ministry of Finance. The Las Vegas casino company was represented by Daniel Erikson, Managing Director and leader of Latin American practice at corporate consultant Blue Star Strategies, Mary Morrison, adviser of Caesars for Latin America and Brazil, in particular, and André Feldman, representative for Caesars in Brazil.

As announced on the website of Brazil’s Finance Ministry, the meeting was focused on the current state of the country’s tourism industry and its economic landscape. Discussions between Mr. Almeida and the Caesars representatives took place only a day before a scheduled meeting of the Senate Committee on Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship.

A bill (PLS 186/2014) that calls for the authorization of a number of gambling services within Brazil’s borders tops the committee’s agenda for today. The piece of legislation was first introduced in 2014, but has not progressed much since then. According to local media, the bill has a good chance to be discussed and voted at today’s meeting.

Gambling Legalization Proposals

With very few exceptions, gambling is prohibited in Brazil. The above-mentioned PLS 186/2014 has been one of the long-standing proposals for the regulation of the Brazilian market in a manner that would allow the provision of different types of gambling.

The proposal calls for the authorization of land-based casinos, bingo halls, the locally popular lottery-like game jodo do bicho, as well as of online sports betting and casino games.

The country’s Ministry of Tourism recently introduced a separate proposal that could see Brazil legalize casino gambling only. According to Ministry of Tourism officials, casino facilities as part of larger integrated resorts could be the best approach to the legalization of gambling in the country.

That recent proposal has been supported by casino giant Las Vegas Sands, which operates integrated resort properties in its home town as well as in Macau and Singapore. The company has been looking to expand to Brazil for several years now.

Brazilian media outlets reported in January that Andy Abboud, Senior Vice President of Government Relations at Las Vegas Sands, had met with the President of the National Congress’ Chamber of Deputies to discuss the benefits of the legalization of casino gambling only as opposed to the introduction of a wider number regulated services in the country.

During their Tuesday meeting with Mr. Almeida, the Caesars representatives expressed support for the legalization of a wider variety of products and services. Talking exclusively to Brazilian gaming news website Games Magazine Brasil, Mr. Feldman said that the country’s gambling legalization push would only succeed by gaining support from the whole industry and not just from its land-based sector.

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