The ongoing allegations of match-fixing in Brazilian sports have prompted the government to temporarily shift its focus away from other reforms. A parliamentary commission of inquiry (PCI) on sports betting is scheduled to commence on Tuesday in the Chamber of Deputies, with the participation of up to 34 legislators.
Eduardo Bandeira de Mello, former president of Brazilian soccer club Flamengo, addressed the media during a press conference. Currently serving as a deputy in the Chamber of Deputies, he will be actively involved in an inquiry focused on investigating match-fixing in sports. The parliamentary commission of inquiry (PCI) will primarily examine cases of fraud within soccer, but it may also extend its scope to other sports. Match-fixing in tennis has also emerged as a global concern.
Last week, the Brazilian state of Goias revealed that it had uncovered at least 16 individuals implicated in various match-fixing activities. This discovery is part of a broader investigation spanning across the country, with implications reaching the MLS and the Colorado Rapids.
Intensifying the Crackdown: Taking Stricter Measures
The commission is expected to be headed by André Fufuca as its president, as announced by the legislative body. The complete list of participating deputies will be disclosed after the initial meeting.
Prominent figures from the world of soccer, including former Flamengo president Eduardo Bandeira de Mello and former Brazilian men’s volleyball player Maurício do Vôlei, will be part of the commission. Felipe Carreras, who previously chaired the sports commission and played a key role in legislative matters such as the “Legal Framework of Gambling” and the “General Law of Sport,” will also contribute to the inquiry.
In light of the recent investigation in Goias, it has been revealed that players were allegedly paid up to BRL 100,000 (USD 20,450) to deliberately receive yellow and red cards during games. These incidents occurred in prominent tournaments such as the Brazilian Championship’s A and B series in 2022, as well as the 2023 Paulista and Gaucho championships.
Eight players from various clubs, including Fluminense, Santos, Athletico Paranaense, São Bernardo, América-MG, and Coritiba, have been suspended due to their alleged involvement in the scheme. The investigation also resulted in the removal of Max Alves from the Rapids.
Bandeira de Mello expressed to local media outlet Jovem Pan News that the goal of the inquiry is to eradicate match-fixing in sports. He acknowledged that such incidents may be more prevalent than commonly realized. He anticipates that the investigation will lead to stringent measures against those organizing and participating in match manipulation, potentially resulting in the enactment of new laws. The commission will collaborate closely with the federal police and the public prosecutor’s office to apprehend anyone involved in these activities.
Emerging on the Horizon: The Rise of Regulated Sports Betting
A provisional measure aimed at regulating the sports betting industry in Brazil has been submitted to President Inacio Lula da Silva for his approval. The Ministry of Finance has presented the final draft, which is currently awaiting the president’s signature.
The draft covers various aspects of sports betting, although enforcement may present challenges.
One provision states that sportsbooks can only process deposits and withdrawals through bank accounts held by institutions approved by the Central Bank and operating within Brazil. Additionally, it mandates that 1% of operators’ revenue be allocated to the new Ministry of Sport.
In conjunction with the initial 15% tax imposed on operators, this results in an effective tax rate of 16%, which is 11% higher than the initial estimates. Operators had anticipated a 5% tax burden under the sports betting legislation of 2018, making the increase to 16% significant.
A portion of the tax revenue will be directed towards the country’s social security program. Sports clubs and entities will receive 1.63%, while Brazil’s national police force will be allocated 2.55%.
The measure also includes a prohibition on advertising by unlicensed bookmakers. Furthermore, it restricts players, club officials, sportsbook employees, minors under 18, and public officials from placing bets.
President da Silva may sign the reforms at any time. Once signed and following a review by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, a “soft launch” period of 60 days will commence. If the process proceeds smoothly, the measure will receive a 60-day extension before becoming law.