Brazilian Soccer Clubs Attempt to Block Sports Betting Ad Ban

Estimated read time 4 min read

In the ongoing legislative deliberations surrounding sports betting in Brazil, a contentious issue has emerged as Brazilian soccer teams rally against a proposed ban on sports betting advertising. They collectively fired off a letter to the Senate last week that they hope will keep the ban out of the final bill’s language.

Atlético Mineiro striker Givanildo Vieira de Sousa handles the ball against Cruzeiro players. The club’s sponsorship deal with Betano could be called off, along with all betting operator advertising, in Brazil’s new betting legislation. (Image: Clube Atlético Mineiro)

The ban seeks to prevent sports betting operators from advertising in sports arenas and stadiums, and entering into sponsorship agreements with teams. The debate has become a focal point in the Senate, where discussions on the approval of sports betting legislation have been protracted, leading to repeated delays.

The controversy escalated on November 10 when 33 Brazilian soccer clubs collectively signed a letter expressing their vehement opposition to the advertising ban. These clubs raised concerns about potential negative impacts on their revenue if the ban were to be implemented.

Brazil’s Senate Continues Betting Suppression

The dispute stems from the addition of the advertising ban as an amendment to a bill approved by the Chamber of Deputies several months ago. Senator Eduardo Girão is a key proponent and the author of the advertising ban.

Girão argues that sports betting can lead to addiction and contends that the ban is a necessary step to address potential gambling-related problems. He also suggests a link between sports betting and an increase in crime, despite the absence of concrete evidence supporting such claims.

The 33 soccer clubs, in response to these proposed restrictions, are actively opposing the ban. Among the organizations that signed are Atlético Mineiro, Athletico Paranaense, Santos Futebol Clube, and others.

Many of the clubs already have sponsorship deals in place, despite the absence of a regulated betting market in Brazil. The clubs are urging the Senate’s Economic Affairs Committee and the full Senate to reconsider and remove the proposed advertising ban from the legislation.

Their collective letter to legislators emphasizes their commitment to responsible advertising practices and underscores the potential economic repercussions that the ban could have on their revenue streams. If Girão’s plan survives legislative scrutiny, it could mean the sudden extraction of millions of dollars from the clubs.

The resolution of this dispute hinges on the decisions made within the Senate. If the Senate proceeds with the ban, the amended bill would then be sent to the Chamber of Deputies for further review and approval. This additional step provides another opportunity for lawmakers to reevaluate the contentious advertising restrictions.

A Long and Winding Road

Brazil has taken years to get this far with its sports betting legislation, despite the potential multimillion-dollar revenue stream it could bring to the country. There was hope that the Senate would quit dragging its feet sometime between September and October, but that never happened.

The president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, now promises to wrap up the bill’s discussion “by the end of the year.” This is a continuation of the delays that, apart from September and October, also mentioned a “definite” response sometime in November.

Local media outlet Valor reported that Pacheco has stated that he is working to clear the Senate’s plate of several legislative measures, including the Legal Framework for Gambling. The chamber’s Economic Affairs Commission has until the week of November 20 to provide its input, which means that it’s unlikely there will be a final Senate vote before December.

The legislation that paves the way for legalized and regulated sports betting is currently with the Senate’s Constitution and Justice Committee, however, it doesn’t appear to be moving.

The media outlet also stated that Pacheco is anxious to approve measures that can increase Brazilian state revenue. This is parallel to what Fernando Haddad, the Minister of Finance, wants, and that alliance could finally give the Senate the push it needs to wrap up its sports betting debate.

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