The Brazilian Bingo Market

In most Latin American countries the success of the gaming industry is based on casino tourism. Millions of gamblers from around the globe travel to opulent Latin American casinos and resorts. Most Latin American casinos are connected with resorts and hotels with stellar customer service. It has been estimated that gambling in the region will generate $200 billion dollars in the next decade. In Argentina casinos generate $4.5 billion annually and most of the revenue is generated by tourists. In Brazil casinos are prohibited but there are many underground illegal casinos. The only legal form of gambling in Brazil is bingo and although slots and sports betting are popular their legality is questionable.

Despite strict gambling laws and a total lack of legal casinos the Brazilian gaming market is the second largest in all of Latin America. Brazil is second only to Costa Rica where relaxed gambling laws have made it a desirable location for many gambling operators and bingo sites. Costa Rica is also a large licensing jurisdiction for gaming operators and bingo sites. The Brazilian gambling industry generates about $7 billion dollars a year. About half is generated by Brazil’s national lottery and the remaining is generated by slots and bingo. In the mid 90’s a loophole was found in Brazilian gambling laws enabling the growth of the slots industry.

Bingo is legal and one of the most popular games in Brazil. The number of legal bingo halls is almost matched by the number of underground bingo halls. In 2004 the Brazilian government made bingo illegal for a few months but relented and many bingo halls did not bother to get a license and are considered illegal. The move was so unpopular that 30,000 bingo hall workers took to the streets to protest the bingo ban. Brazilian bingo halls are usually packed with players enjoying their favorite bingo games.

So far there are very few bingo sites targeting the Brazilian market. Broadband access is rapidly increasing in Brazil and there are a few bingo sites that accept Brazilian players and offer games in Portuguese. Although Brazil would present some challenges to internet bingo operators the number of bingo players in the country makes it an attractive market for exploration. Currently there are no Brazilian bingo sites licensed in the country. Online bingo fans must play at foreign bingo sites and have to deal with issues such as currency exchange. Brazil seems like a potentially profitable market for bingo operators and once regulatory barriers are removed Brazil could be the next big bingo market.

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