Online poker and betting site Bodog is looking to become one of Brazil’s most top operators after agreeing a sponsorship deal with Sao Paolo poker room, the H2 Club.
Since leaving the US following the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), Bodog has looked to establish itself in a number of established and emerging markets.
Continuing this strategy, Bodog Poker announced on May 16 that it is now focusing on Brazil and has partnered with its largest poker room.
The partnership will see Bodog build a branded “lounge” inside the poker room and host a selection of tournaments.
According to the press release, the sponsorship deal will give players a physical location where they can “connect” with Bodog’s online platform. Moreover, every event will offer a mix of poker and entertainment that reflects the brand.
Brazil On the Cusp of Regulation
As it stands, gambling operates in something of a grey area in Brazil. It was originally outlawed back in 1941 as part of Brazil’s Criminal Contravention Act. Then, in 1946, President Eurico Dutra shut down all casinos across the country.
The only betting activities that survived the cull were lotteries, horseracing and poker as they were deemed games of skill. This dynamic still stands today, but a change could be on the horizon which may mean poker et al would come under new regulation.
PLS 186/2014 was approved by the Senate’s Special Committee on National Development in December 2016. This bill would legalize casinos, betting shops and online gambling.
Although the bill still has to overcome a few hurdles before it becomes law, the impetus to regulate is there which could be the reason Bodog is making a move now.
Sensing a shift in attitude towards live and online gaming, Bodog may be using its poker axis as foundation to launch other betting products if and when Brazil passes new regulations.
Operators Ready to Bet Big on Brazil
While this would be a sensible move given that current estimates suggest Brazil could make $3 billion from casino tax revenue each year, it appears as though Bodog won’t be the only player in town. At the same time the online operator was announcing its partnership with the H2 Club, Sheldon Adelson was reportedly courting Brazilian president Michel Temer.
The Las Vegas Sands CEO is believed to have pitched an $8 billion casino to local officials. Despite there being no legal framework in place, Adelson looks to be hedging his bets just as Bodog has done in Sao Paulo.
While there are still questions to be answered, the latest movements suggest Brazil may soon become a hotbed of poker, casino and sports betting action.
With a population of more than 207 million and the ninth largest economy in the world, it’s certainly a country with a lot of potential.