As Brazil heads towards a regulated gaming market it has been hit by allegations that the former President of the National Association of Games and Lotteries (ANJL), Wesley Cardia, was pressured to pay a bribe to ensure a favourable result for the betting industry.

Fernando Noodt, Senior Business Journalist at SBC Noticias, is joined on today’s episode of iGaming Daily, supported by Optimove, by the Editor of SBC Noticias, Lucía Gando, and Senior Journalist, Isadora Marcante, to discuss the allegations and the latest news from across Latin America.

Former special adviser to the Ministry of Finance José Francisco Manssur told the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) that Cardia was pressured to pay money requested by the senators who make up the CPI.

The allegations come as Brazil gears up to open up its regulated gaming market and the trio analyse what this could mean for this process. 

Lucía said: “It could lead to a bad reputation for the industry, which we already have in Brazil. People are not very big fans of the sports betting industry here. We just have to wait and see what’s going to happen but it’s a very bad thing if it’s true.”

Elsewhere in Brazil, a regional court partially upheld the lawsuit of the Rio De Janeiro state lottery (Loterj) which aims to authorise the National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) to verify whether online gaming and betting operators in Rio De Janeiro have legitimacy to operate in the state.

The decision has been criticised by gaming stakeholders in Brazil as it raises concerns that state regulators can prohibit operators that have been granted a national license. 

Lucía explained: “The rest of the associations, they are worried about what this means that only a state can prohibit certain sites which can have a national license. It’s going to be very competitive now and not so clear when it comes to national and state regulations. The industry is aware of the situation and is worried about the sentence.”

Isadora adds that some organisations have claimed that Anatel does not have the responsibility of verifying operator’s licenses and instead, this responsibility should be left in the hands of the minister of finance. 

Moving away from Brazil, Argentinian regulators in the city of Buenos Aires have decided to stop issuing new iGaming licenses to curb underage gambling. Currently, there are 11 licensed iGaming operators in the city.

Lucia explains that the culture of iGaming and sports betting only started to flourish during the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result, there is a large demand from people in Argentina to address problems that are caused by the industry.

Fernando added: “The key thing right now that regulators need to do rather than just stop issuing licenses [is] take steps to block the illegal websites and the illegal operators that are targeting and racing to get the vulnerable audiences like minors and problem gamblers.”

A concern for Argentinians is the level of sports betting and iGaming advertising that is seen across different media outlets and both Isadora and Fernando say that they can foresee restrictions being placed on marketing similar to regulations put in place in Spain.

Ep 298: Brazilian bumps in the road