Walking down the road of changes: What will be the result of the gambling legislation amendments?
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Gambling legalisation has finally moved forwards. The Chamber of Deputies has approved the request to deal with the bill as a matter of urgency. The decision means that the law can now be voted on without going through the committee stage. The request was approved with 293 votes in favour, 138 against, and 11 abstentions.
President of the Chamber of Deputies Arthur Lita did his best to make the legislation move forward. He held negotiations with leaders of different political parties. He also announced that debates in the Chamber of Deputies will be held in February 2022. Legislators will have a chance to make amendments if needed before the debates. The situation still remains pretty much the same though. The main problem with the legislation is the position of the religious part of the senators that stands against the gambling legalisation.
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
Possible legalisation of gambling in Brazil would be a truly significant development. The reason is that all forms of gambling in Brazil have been illegal since 1946.
Apart from that, the outdated legislation does not regulate online gambling. This legislative gap potentially allows Brazilians to gamble remotely through the websites of offshore operators.
It is logical to assume that Brazil doesn’t receive large amounts of money for this reason. According to the Brazilian authorities, potential annual losses because of the unregulated online gambling market is $9.3 billion.
The legalization of gambling would bring considerable benefits, which are the following:
More tourist traffic from all around the world to Brazil;
Big international brands that would drive the economy of Brazil;
A large number of new job opportunities for the citizens.
The Finnish parliament has approved the country's Lottery Act at first reading, setting out tighter controls for offshore operators and additional safeguards for Veikkaus’ monopoly. Reforms in the act include the introduction of payment blocking for any operators other than monopoly Veikkaus.
Verification will be mandatory for all gambling. Now this rule is only applied to slots. It will be introduced for all the other forms no later than in 2024. Marketing regulation will be changed, too. The advertising of gambling games deemed particularly harmful, such as slot machines, would be banned. The bill is yet to be approved in the second reading before it reaches the president to become a law.
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
Online gambling state monopolies are widely criticised by the international gambling community. Finland is one of the last countries that monopolise the online gambling industry. Another similar example would be Norway.
The authorities justify monopolies by the fact that they can monitor the industry better and prevent possible problems with gambling addiction. However, nowadays, it is hard to control the status quo since players may flock to offshore operators' websites that offer a great variety of options. Thus, the original goal of the states with online gambling monopolies to implement and control the tools for responsible gambling is ineffective.
Moreover, monopolies take away from the players freedom to choose the products, the prices, or the brands. Monopoly operators lack the opportunity to develop and they grow slowly due to the absence of competition.
Finally, by losing the players due to the above-mentioned reasons, countries lose major contributions to their budgets.
To sum up, the list of negatives that surround monopolies’ can go on and on. This is why most other European countries switched to the open market approach. For example, Denmark and Sweden, who are neighbors to Finland, also successfully shifted from the monopolies and now reap the benefits of the new approach.
Different opinions on gambling are heard across the country. Deputy of the local parliament (Milli Mejlis) has said in an interview that a casino may be launched in Azerbaijan. He believes that it can help to develop tourism. He’s named several places in the country where it could be built.
It seems to be alright, but Milli Mejlis has already approved in the first reading a bill on increasing fines for organisation and providing gambling. The tools used to organise and provide gambling will be seized along with the prize funds, money and other assets, and incomes from gambling. A customer will be fined 5 000 manats (around 2 500 euro), an official will be fined 10 000 manats (around 5 000 euro), and a legal person will be fined 50 000 manats (around 26 000 euro).
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
While reading the controversial headlines regarding the gambling industry in Azerbaijan, it is difficult to identify clear objectives that the government is pursuing. Apparently, authorities are divided into two camps: those who want to toughen the responsibility for organizing gambling activities and those aimed at developing the industry.
This is not surprising, since the process of gambling legalization leads to the development of numerous initiatives. Some of these initiatives are really aimed at developing high-quality legal framework and favorable conditions for the industry, while others, on the contrary, just make the possible operation on the market too complicated.
Ukraine would be a vivid example as one of the countries from the post-Soviet space. When the Verkhovna Rada was considering draft laws on the legalization of the organization and conduct of gambling activities, one of the proposals was to introduce tougher liability in the form of high fines for the illegal organization of gambling.