Brazil mulls legalising gambling to boost tax take

Brazil is considering legalising gambling to increase the country’s public revenues, news agency Reuters reported.

According to the media outlet, Aloizio Mercadante, the chief of staff of Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, presented the idea to Brazilian lawmakers last week. The idea was brought up when legislators indicated it would be difficult to pass the Government’s controversial tax on financial transactions.

Although federal lotteries and bets on horse racing are allowed in Brazil, casinos have been outlawed since 1946, Reuters explained. Bingo was also banned in 2007.

At a time when Brazil is facing its worst recession in 25 years, proponents of licensed casino gambling argue the country should not pass up the chance of collecting what could be 23.5 billion reais (US$5.9 billion) in annual gambling taxes, the news agency added.

On Tuesday, the Brazilian Government forecast a 2.4-percent contraction in the country’s gross domestic product in 2015, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported. The fresh official estimate – released by Brazil’s Planning and Budget Ministry – pointed to what would be the country’s worst economic performance since 1990.