Brazil losing out on “gold” even before the Olympic medal ceremonies

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Earlier this year, in an attempt to allow legal gambling during the summer Olympics, the Brazilian government tried pushing through legislation that would allow for wagering on the international sporting event.

The laws that would have effectively lifted a seven-year ban on gambling came a little too late. The legislation that they tried to urgently pass in preparation of the games passed, but they won’t become law in nearly enough time for the 2016 Olympics. And thus, tourists to and citizens of the host country cannot legally place bets and wagers on the variety of competitions, matches, and games throughout the Summer Olympics held in Rio De Janiero.

The local political leaders are being blamed for Brazil not being able to capitalize on this coveted host status. The 2016 Games won’t have any legal casinos and that will cost Brazil billions of dollars in tax revenue; money that the country could definitely use toward their citizens’ well-being.

As it stands, if and when Brazilians want to gamble legally, the estimated 200,000 leave the country a month to travel out of the country to Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina or Las Vegas, to set up their wagers. Technically, they can wager online at sites like and other online casino sites, but many prefer the in-person experience of tangible chips, smoke-filled halls, and the energy of real casinos.

The problem is that Brazilians are leaving their cash in those countries and for a cash-strapped government in a recession like Brazil, that’s hard to swallow. What’s worse is that wages during the Olympics won’t benefit Brazil whatsoever.

Speaking of Olympic betting, it is now legal to take Olympic bets at a Las Vegas sports books for the first time since the 2000 games.

Edgar Lenzi, president of Curitiba-based gaming consultancy BetConsult, estimates legal betting is already a 14.2 billion real ($4.2 billion) market in Brazil, primarily from state lotteries, while illegal gambling totals close to 20 billion reais per year.

“The demand for gambling in Brazil is huge.” said Lenzi.

And that’s not to mention the amount of money that could be made from tourists with a bug for slots, poker or blackjack. Looks like Brazil missed out on the some real gold and silver during the Olympics.

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