São Paulo moving fast to legalize sports betting

São Paulo moving fast to legalize sports betting

With a goal to attract huge investments to Sao Paulo, Mayor Ricardo Nunes and other city leaders are working on a bill that could turn the Brazilian city into an investment hub for betting and fantasy gaming companies.

The bill in question, which will cap the tax on gaming companies, is already in the works and it could gain approval within a few days. The text of the bill specifies a Tax on Services of Any Nature (ISS, for its Portuguese acronym), which has specifically been designed to attract as well as retain gaming companies that will offer services related to sports betting, lottery, prizes and similar products.

Introduced less than a month ago, the bill has made a swift progress. It is now waiting for the City Council’s green signal.

The idea of turning São Paulo into an investment hub for gaming companies was first floated by Entain. In late September, some Entain representatives met Mayor Nunes, and convinced him that the city could reap a lot of financial benefits if manages to attract investment from gaming operators.

Soon after, gaming law expert Luis Felipe Maia and São Paulo Councilman Fabio Riva formulated a plan to turn the city into an investment hub. The duo laid the groundwork to make the plan the city’s legislative initiative. Riva stressed on the importance of a competitive ISS rate so that the city can attract major multination gaming companies. Of course, the arrival of international companies will bring new jobs for people and a new stream of tax revenue for the city government. Thus, such a development will provide relief on two fronts.

The São Paulo City Council gave its preliminary approval to the bill in its first meeting earlier this month, establishing an ISS rate of 2 per cent for various forms of gambling, including sports betting, bingo and lotteries. In its imminent second meeting, the bill is expected to gain full approval of the city council, if no last-minute objection is raised. Then, the bill would be sent to Mayor Nunes for his signature.

Several Brazilian lawmakers are in favor of expansion of gaming industry to provide a much-needed boost to the country’s economy, but President Jair Bolsonaro kept snubbing such plans. Now that Bolsonaro is on his way out, paving way for the return of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, there is optimism that things will change sooner than later.

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