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Insight BRAZIL - UPDATE


Neil Montgomery, Founding and Managing Partner of Montgomery & Associados


Neil Montgomery is the Founding and Managing Partner of Brazilian law firm Montgomery & Associados (www.montgomery.adv.br), at which he heads, amongst other practice areas, the law firm’s Minds Sports, Draws, Gaming, Betting and Lottery Practice Group. The firm, which pioneers the innovative business model of Lean Full Service – LFS®, is headquartered in São Paulo and has a presence in Rio de Janeiro and London. It is the only Brazilian full service law firm with a dedicated team specializing in gaming and betting. He is a dual national (Brazilian / British). He is a General Member for Brazil at the IMGL – International Masters of Gaming Law, a published author and a regular speaker at international gaming and betting events (including ICE). He has worked as a lawyer in London and São Paulo and specialises on advising multinational companies in investing and doing business in Brazil and Brazilian companies expanding their businesses overseas.


The right tax structure could create a land of opportunity


Neil Montgomery has advised foreign clients on all aspects of Brazilian law and has accompanied and contributed to the development of the legalisation and regulation of gaming in Brazil. Neil looks ahead to the regulations for Law No. 13,756/2018 being issued and to the support his team can provide to foreign sports books seeking to establish their presence in Brazil and obtain a licence to take part in the local market.


What effect has Covid had on delaying gambling laws in Brazil?


COVID-19 has delayed the regulatory process and has shown how Brazil desperately needs to legalise and regulate all forms of games of chance. Tis also implies rolling out a tax structure (based on GGR and not turnover) that is sufficiently attractive to have as many operators as possible look at Brazil as a land of opportunity, which has the potential of being within the three largest markets in the world. Tere are rumours that GGR-based tax legislation be rolled out sooner than later.


As far as the number of fixed odds sports betting licences being made available by the federal government are concerned, initial rumours signalled potentially 30 licences, but such number gradually increased, and speculation had it that the number could be between 50 and 100. However, such a number is still insufficient considering that studies have ascertained that currently about 450 to 500 online foreign sports books access the Brazilian market.


Bolsonaro hardly ever talks about gambling, but do you think that the government will be forced to allow for an expansion of the market in order to generate tax revenue? Or do you think that his evangelical base will make any kind of expansion impossible?


Nowadays, the evangelical base has conducted fierce opposition against legalisation. Notwithstanding, since the legalisation of sports betting at the end of 2018, momentum has been gained over the years and it now seems that the legalisation of other gaming


P84 WIRE / PULSE / INSIGHT / REPORTS


verticals is more a question of time rather than anything else, especially in times where the federal and state governments are desperately looking for new sources of tax revenue.


Beyond the instant lottery division, Lotex, the government is looking to sell off the fixed-odds betting arm of the lottery of CAIXA. Could you tell us about that? Do you think it will be more successful than the selling off of Lotex, which underwent several delays and has failed so far?


As far as the number of fixed odds sports betting licences being made available by the federal government are concerned, initial rumours signalled potentially 30 licences, but such number gradually increased, and speculation had it that the number could be between 50 and 100. However, such a number is still insufficient considering that studies have ascertained that currently about 450 to 500 online foreign sports books access the Brazilian market. Tis is why I have always been favourable and advised SECAP, in the contributions submitted by my firm to the public consultation rounds promoted by such a body, that the most appropriate business model for Brazil should be that of authorisation (particularly for online licences), where the government is required to grant a licence if the pre- determined legal and financial requirements are satisfied by each operator seeking a licence.


While such model appeared in the first draft decree made available by SECAP, it was later replaced by the concession model in the latest draft. I am still hopeful that the federal government may revert to the authorization model, especially since the recent RFI No. 06/2021 released by the Brazilian National Social


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