Online betting in Brazil is a complex topic as it’s governed by very old laws, however this is all about to change, but exactly when is hard to pinpoint. As soon as any change is made this page will be updated to reflect it.
Meanwhile the current legislation will be covered in full below as well as a list of legal Brazil betting sites where you can hold an account.
Whilst it might appear bleak if you look at that legislation in reality we are unable to find any examples of this being enforced against online punters and there are plenty of big name operators happy to allow players from Brazil to sign up and use their service.
Key Facts: Online Gambling In Brazil
- Laws passed in 1940s make most gambling illegal.
- Old laws are not enforced and many people gamble without prosecution in Brazil.
- Overseas operators are widely used and accept Brazilian customers.
- Government are currently working to license all gambling.
- New laws likely to pass soon to fully legalise and regulate gambling.
Brazil Betting Sites & Bookmakers
The following is a list of the best betting sites for residents of Brazil:
Brazil Gambling Law & Legislation: Is it legal or illegal?
The story of gambling legislation in Brazil is a fascinating one which features plenty of twists and turns. The following timeline should give you a decent summary of what is an ever-changing tale:
1941 – Criminal Contravention Act
Before 1941 gambling was legal in Brazil, but this was changed by the passage of the 1941 Criminal Contravention Act which to this day still hasn’t been abolished or wholly superseded. The act rules that establishing or operating games of chance is an offence which can be punished by imprisonment. It also defines games of chance as:
a game in which winning or losing depends exclusively or principally on luck
bets on horses outside the racetrack or other places where such races are authorised
bets on any sport competition
1946 – Decree Law No. 9215
Gambling activities can be made legal in Brazil if the Criminal Contravention Act is superseded by independent legislation directly regulating the activity in question. For five years between 1941 and 1946, this was the case for casino gambling which was subject to licences, authorisation and concessions granted by federal, state and municipal governments. These were removed or annulled, however, in 1946 by Decree Law no. 9215 which made all casino gambling illegal.
1990-2007 – Flip-Flopping on Bingo
As a game of chance, bingo was amongst the activities outlawed by the Criminal Contravention Act. Its illegality was overturned, however, in 1990 by the passage of the ‘Pele Law’ which dictated that bingo could be legal if it was used to fund sports teams or activities. Unfortunately this led to bingo becoming a target for money launderers and organised crime, and Brazil’s Supreme Court outlawed it once again in 2007.
2008-2010 Trying to Apply 1940s Legislation to the New Millennium
Whilst Brazilian authorities agreed that the Criminal Contravention Act did make establishing and running online betting and gambling sites in Brazil illegal, the 75 year old act obviously doesn’t take overseas providers into account. For that reason, foreign based companies have long offered their services to Brazilian residents and the Brazilian government has been able to do little about it. There have been some attempts to pass legislation which would allow them to take greater action, most notably between 2008 and 2010, but none of this has ever been enacted.
2016 – Legalisation Bills
In Autumn 2016 – there were separate gambling legalisation bills being discussed in both Brazil’s lower house and their senate, as well as a seemingly notable political desire to get the legalisation process completed. If and when legislation is agreed, it would require only presidential sign off to be passed into law and it is widely expected that Brazil’s president may even create a national gambling regulatory body in advance of this to speed up the process further.
Provisional Measure 846/2018 passed in Brazil’s senate which introduces licensing for online and land based sports betting services as well as dealing with the distribution of lottery proceeds.
Tax on Winnings
As the Brazilian gambling industry is – as of this moment – mostly unregulated and some forms of gambling are in fact illegal, there is obviously a big question surrounding taxation.
One of the major reasons that politicians are looking to legalise the industry, and have made moves to do so, is because of the fund raising possibility of gambling taxation. In the not too distant future, therefore, it would be no surprise to see new gambling tax laws introduced in Brazil. Whether these would tax punters or simply the companies providing them with gambling services, remains to be seen.
Lottery winners are currently taxed at 30%.
Due to the illegality of establishing and operating online gambling sites in Brazil, all current Brazilian punters are using overseas based providers. As we’ve discussed, the Brazilian government has no real ability to police or to regulate this, so the legal situation has no real bearing on the choice of deposit method.
As such, in the majority of cases, depositing via either debit card or credit card would likely be the easiest and best alternative. These methods offer quick and easy deposits, good levels of security and are catered for by almost all sites around.
If you want to remain anonymous though then using an e-wallet, such as Neteller, is a good idea. All that will show on your bank statement is transfer to and from Neteller and not the gambling sites.