New Corruption Scandal Could Slow Down Brazil’s Gambling Reforms

Oil and mining mogul’s revelations could preoccupy lawmakers

Politicians in Brazil who may have accepted “inducements and incentives” from disgraced oil and mining billionaire Eike Batista will be looking nervously over their shoulders following news that to save his own skin the former business mogul has offered to provide details of illegal bribes he paid out to federal lawmakers.

G3Newswire reports that Batista is currently under house arrest pending trial on corruption and money laundering charges, with prosecutors claiming that he paid $16.5 million in bribes to the former governor of Rio De Janeiro, Sergio Cabral.

One of Batista’s projects was to partner with offshore companies in the transformation of a Rio de Janeiro hotel into a casino, and that – allied to allegations of political corruption – could result in a slow-down in the already tortuous progress of Brazil’s gambling reform law, which includes online gambling provisions (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Observers have opined that the news of Batista’s willingness to divulge details of his bribes will undoubtedly have a negative impact on efforts to pass reform legislation and could see lawmakers withdraw their support from the proposal, currently bogged down in the Chamber Of Deputies.

The liberalisation of gambling could see up to 35 land casino licenses awarded across Brazil’s 27 states. Larger and more prosperous states such as Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, and Minas Gerais would be given authority to permit as many as three gambling establishments within wider leisure resort complexes.