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Update October 2004: bingos are legal again in Brazil.
The Congress didn't aprove the Provisional Measure. Bingos were reopened in Natal.
March 2004: Even bingos are now illegal in Brazil.
A member of the government was caught in video while demanding bribes from a man connected to the bingo business.
In response, President Lula issued a Provisional Measure (an act of the President with force of Law) stating all bingo activities to be illegal. All bingos in Natal and Brazil were closed.
Casinos have been illegal in Brazil since the 1960's; the allegation is that casinos help spread prostitution, mafias, money laundering, etc. Several projects are in Congress trying to legalize casinos, but those have a low priority.
Brazilians practice gambling in several ways:
- the internet
- those who can afford it, travel to Paraguai, Uruguai or even Las Vegas and help spread prostitution and mafia somewhere else
- there are several state operated lottos; some are based on football results, other in pure numerical draws; some lotteries pay as little as a couple of reals, while others accumulate huge prizes (the biggest jackpot till Dec.03 was about R$45 million, or a big over US$16 million). Take a look at this
maintained by Caixa Economica Federal, an official bank which collects the stakes and pay the prizes.
- poorer people bet on Jogo do Bicho (Animal's Lottery); the practice is ilegal, but no one seems to care; in every neighbourhood there are people taking bets, which are hand written in small pieces of paper, but always honoured. Basically, you bet on a number, and, if you win, you get a prize proportional to your chances of winning (example: bet on a number 0-99 and win, you get almost 100 reais; bet on 0-999 and win, you get almost 1000 reais); this is much better than the official lotteries, where less than half of stakes is paid out.
- the closest thing to casinos are the bingos; numbers are drawn until someone first fills up his card. There are some other electronic gambling machines (poker and variations), but no roulettes or blackjack tables. One of such bingos is at Rota do Sol, almost in front of Terere.
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visitors since April 5th 2005