Brazil could legalise gambling to help stop increasing taxes on residents and to bring in revenues through gambling.
Presidnet Dilma Rousseff wants to raise personal taxes but lawmakers and congress want to look at re-establishing gambling in the country as an alternative revenue stream. The presidents chief of staff, Aloizio Mercadante, put the idea to lawmakers last week after they said the government will struggle to pass a controversial tax on financial transactions.
It has been nearly 70 years since Brazil allowed casino gambling back in 1946 and 8 years since bingo halls were also outlawed amid fears from the government that they encouraged money laundering. The only forms of gambling allowed is lotteries and horse racing.
Supporters of gambling say that Brazil could generate nearly $6 billion in gambling taxes a year and could have been much larger if the country had allowed gambling before the 2014 World Cup.
“When Brazilians want to gamble, they go to Paraguay, Montevideo, Las Vegas… and they leave all the money there,” said Mauricio Quintella, leader of the small, center-right Party of the Republic in the lower house of Congress and one of the lawmakers tasked with leading consultations on the idea.
However Brazil has a long way to go before any casinos are built, the country has seen major corruption scandals over the years and many Brazilians think that casinos and corruption go hand in hand. Convincing them that this will not be the case this time around will be an uphill task, but one many lawmakers believe is worth it for the taxes they can gain from casinos.