After hosting an hours-long discussion on Wednesday afternoon, the Government of Brazil has finally confirmed today that a majority has voted in favour of a gambling framework.

Bill 442/91 was first drafted by Deputy Felipe Carreras. President of the Chamber of Deputies Arthur Lira then brought the Bill forward to the agenda of this week’s Brazilian virtual plenary. The talks resulted in 246 votes favouring the Bill, 202 votes against, and two abstained from voting.

Moments before the results came in, Lira noted that the legislation is a ‘controversial issue’ that needs to be addressed. Other deputies supporting the Bill homed in by stating that gambling in Brazil is already a practice – the state just needs to ensure it is winning from it and that there are safety measures in place for players.

Carreras added: “The goal is to prevent and protect the players. The regulation will allow the state to collect more taxes through the exploitation of games and betting, and will ensure greater resources for the implementation and development of social public policies of the states and municipalities, reinforcing our fiscal federalism.”

The vote comes as a surprise for some observers, as the gambling industry has fought more than 30 years to receive a legal status in the South American state. Current President Jair Bolsonaro has also reaffirmed on multiple occasions his intention to veto any regulation that might come in, closely resembling Deputy Sóstenes Cavalcante’s attempts at eliminating the Bill altogether.

To counteract the political offensive against the project, Carreras agreed on the formation of a regulatory body that will be responsible for authorising and issuing gambling activity licenses while answering to Brazil’s Ministry of Economy.

Casino licenses for example will be prioritised based on investment size. No more than one license will be granted per federal entity, while the total country-wide licence number a casino can hold will be limited to five.

Furthermore, only one casino will be able to operate in a state with up to 15 million residents, two casinos for states between 15 to 25 million residents, and a total of three different license owners can establish operations in states with more than 25 million residents. Pará and Amazonas will have other exceptions.