It appears from media reports coming to light over the weekend that Brazilian politicians could be gearing up for a ban on Internet gambling that could include UIGEA-like elements designed to disrupt financial transactions between players and online gambling operators, and even Internet Service Provider blocks on offshore online gambling websites.
The reports emphasise that Bill PLS 121/2008 still has many hurdles to overcome as it makes its way through parliamentary committees prior to full debate and voting in both the Brazilian Senate and Chamber of Deputies as well as both houses of the Congress.
If ultimately passed, the proposal could put a serious crimp on the Latin American market for which many operators have high hopes.
Originally proposed by Senator Magno Malta in the spring of 2008, the bill is currently with the Communications and Technology Committee of the Brazilian Senate. The reports indicate that a companion bill authored by senior politician Senator Alves Filho is also in progress that makes provision for bans on payment processing through the Brazilian financial infrastructure, and includes moves to compel Internet Service Providers to block user’s access to gambling sites.
A similar payment processing ban introduced in Brazil in 2007, aimed at sportsbetting sites, failed to make it through the political process.
In his draft proposal, Senator Filho admits that his draft law has been inspired by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the United States and the impact it has had on the Internet gambling industry.
"The UIGEA in the USA adopted a strategy that is worthwhile bringing across to our jurisdiction," wrote Senator Filho. "... as it is not possible to punish those responsible for electronic sites based in other countries... we punish those that allow these sites to be accessed from our national territory.
“It is for this reason that the North American law and this current project are principally directed towards internet service providers, credit card companies and towards banks.”
Several major international online gambling operators are already active in the Brazilian market, promoting their activities vigorously.