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BNL interviews Deputy Guilherme Mussi

10/05/2016

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Regulatoy Framework of Gaming in Brazil relator, Deputy Guilherme Mussi (PP-SP)

Right after last Wednesday (27) meeting, the column talked to the Regulatoy Framework of Gaming in Brazil relator, Deputy Guilherme Mussi (PP-SP). In the interview, the parliamentarian hasn´t refused himself to coment on any issue questioned and, revealed that, together with the Special Commission President, Deputy Eduardo Nascimento, have visited many legalized and regulamentated markets. And he intends to present the report and the substitute in up to 15 days.

Check it:

BNL – Gamming in Brazil is considered a taboo and it is in the same category as drugs, abortion .Have you been afraid of the challenge in being chosen the Regulatoy Framework of Gaming in Brazil relator?

GM – To begin with, I would like to greet my friends and BNL readers and all those who have followed the work through the newsletter for all these 7 months of commission.

I´ve never been afraid of such challenge. I´ve been in the wrong career. We have to face that it is important to have the contradictory, respect the ideas, convictions and even some fundamentalist ideas which still insists to prevail in our country. But I believe this is an extremely important issue. Different from few Deputies – minority in this Commission-that oppose based on the arguments that outdated with no base at all, without any data, no study saying, for instance, that gambling wouldn´t bring any wealth nor development, no creation of jobs in such economy like Brazil. It gets to a point to be hilarious.

BNL-Do you think the moment is appropriated to have the creation of the Regulatoy Framework of Gaming in Brazil?

GM-A very important moment has come to talk about this issue. I have my convictions so my restrictions. But I believe in a common sense (for the legalization) formed in the commission. I´ve already been working in the next steps. And I´m sure I will be successful in this project which in my opinion is one of the most important one going on in the House of Representatives.

BNL – Do you believe that after 7 months of Special Commission, 15 meetings,9 public hearings and 23 experts been heard is possible to demystify this sector and bring it to legality?

GM – No doubt about it!

I think we´ve already had too many meetings. We´ve heard distinctive sectors, segments, from electronic games, casino gaming, casinos, bingos, people that are in favor of it and the ones who join it, the ones who create ‘jogo do bicho’, the Internal Revenue Service people, Government people, contrary people, the Public Ministry, favorable people within the same institutions. So I think we´ve already got enough material to elaborate a project.

BNL – You have allowed that members form Collegiate gave suggestions to the Final Report. Such procedure is not so common. Are you being flexible? When will the Final Report be presented?

GM – We´ve been pretty flexible for the House settings. So there can be an agreement and there can´t be any personal interest defending any regions from my State which doesn´t happen and you´ve been testimony. So we can advance in a faster way. That´s why I believe that in the next 2 weeks, we will be in the final step of this commission.

BNL – In case of being approved by the Special Commission, do you believe there will be difficulties to put in the agenda in the House of Representatives?

GM – We have the commitment from our President Eduardo Cunha to put in the agenda as soon as possible and then it goes to the Senate and then to the Presidential Sanction.

BNL – Do you think that, due to the impeachment issue of President Dilma Rousseff, the process of gambling legalization can be disturbed? What´s your opinion about this issue?

GM – We can deny there is a political instability in the country. It´s clear and obvious that all of us, mainly as a relator and the Deputy Elmar Nascimento as President of the commission had already started some conversations with executive members, with Ministry of Treasury, with CEF members but also we have started some talking to some possible Ministers and people that will be taking over the Chairs ,even with people very close to Michel Temer. I don´t believe there will be no objection by the new Government. Even because this commitment has already been dealt and put on the table. And I think it will be a solution for most of economic problems in Brazil.

BNL – Do you believe that the legalization and potential income from gambling could be the solution for the economic crisis in this Government?

GM-It´s obvious that it wouldn´t be the final solution. But there is no doubt it would provide an oxygen. So, we could start to address the economy in Brazil.

BNL – In all non legal market and the places that gambling is kept in clandestinity, the demand has been legalized. Do you think of legalizing demand or restrict categories?

GM – I agree with the colleagues that say that as less restrictions the better to the investments to arrive in an effective way.

BNL – Do you think is possible a self-regulation in the market?

GM – I want to do a report in which there is the least intervention as possible. And to be self-regulated and understand itself. Because this is the model we have seen in most of the countries where we have visited. Most of the legislations have been self-regulated. So, the fewer restrictions, the more attractive will be for the big investments. Not only from foreign capital but also from Brazilian business men from other sectors that will be interested in this activity which seems feasible once it works well worldwide. I believe that, if we can, of course in an agreement with most of parliamentarians in this line and also with some restrictions, with a lot of responsibility and in a dialogue together with Senators from the opposition party and from the Government besides the ones that are contrary and favorable we have been keeping dialogues for some months in the House of Representatives.

BNL – Do you believe there is still a setback regarding the Regulatoy Framework of Gaming in Brazil?

GM – Some Deputies have demonstrated contrary dispositions before. But slowly, we are explaining and showing (another reality) based on studies. We´ve done many visits, have visited many countries with legislations on which gambling works in an effective way. This helps to clarify. You see the Deputy Luis Carlos Hauly with no base at all, saying absurd where he seems a fortune-teller than a parliamentarian who has studied the issue. The relator has the onus and the bonus. The bonus that you can discuss and be involved in such important issue for all the country. And the onus that you have to explain to your colleagues everything you have studied, you have read from experiences through this process. It is on me, as a Relator, to carry this onus of explaining one to one to my colleagues the reason, the benefits. Because I am very optimistic about the benefits that the regulamentation of gambling will bring to the country.

BNL – For all 15 years we´ve been defending the gambling legalization and what we have noticed in the last months is that this topic is not “so square”, so hard to digest, from the opposite as much as from some social and political active people that have always said 3 basic arguments against legalization: money laundry, lack of control and patology. We wonder that after public hearing, visit to legalized markets and the facing of this topic have you formed a new value about these problems?

GM – I have never connected these 3 main contrary arguments to regulamentation of gamming. One thing is not connected to the other one. Regarding money laundry, we´ve been to Vegas with ARF (Advertising Research Foundation), America Revenue Service along with business people sitting together with FBI chief, Nevada Gaming Commission and they´ve explained step by step how to avoid this kind of crime against this activity. So, I could also say that we have to forbid the mining because the National   Department of Mineral Production is useless once there is some money laundry practice.

BNL – And regarding the pathology?

GM-We would have to close all the bars in Brazil because one person couldn´t socially go to a Happy Hour, have a beer or 2.Of course, there are cases of people with alcohol problems. But to forbid is the easiest way out. Maybe, we could people able to develop and create an agency to inspect, elaborate a prevention work. And also create some restrictions, so the person couldn´t gamble what he or she doesn´t have, the person wouldn´t enter in a gambling house with credit cards, for instance.

BNL – And the controls?

GM – We have many mechanisms of control. I am in favor of protecting vulnerable people. The way it works in some countries, not only in America, as a model, not only in gambling but in many other areas. Central America countries. So, I believe this argument has been dis qualified when people from Federal Revenue came here(Special Commission) and defend that there is no connection proved between practices of gambling with these crime. Unfortunately, such stigma has been created in Brazil linking ‘jogo do bicho’ to drug dealing, to samba which is not true.

There is no “no game”. What exists is “legal game” or “illegal game”. We have to deal with that. Thousands and millions of Brazilians gamble not visiting the USA, not going to Uruguay. But they play at home, in clandestine places where the player has no protection, mainly from the State. No protection from an Inspection institution. These days we have to fight the illegal activity. No doubt about it. We have to legitimate people that wish to have their leisure time and enjoy gambling. The state can´t interfere in the freedom of its citizens. People that like gambling and can afford it need to be protected and fair conditions, adequated places .It´s not ok for a provider of a family, a grandfather or a middle aged woman to have to hide themselves in caves with computer screens as it happens, afraid of being arrested at any moment. We have to amplify these spaces once the investments in the entertainment sector would come along.

The last time I´ve been to Vegas with my wife I didn´t spend a coin. We´ve been to the best shows, the best fairs in the best conference centers.

BNL – Uruguay with 3.4 million inhabitants has 31 casinos in operation. The casino/hotels depend on Brazilian guest/gambler….

GM – Respecting our neighbor, today Uruguay is a country a bit behind Brazil in terms of nature wonders. And economically too… Of course, there are many points we need to learn from them. Take Punta, for instance, the hotels are far below quality than the ones we would have in Brazil. And we have a reference there. It turned out a gastronomic center in many hotels, even Brazilian chains are in Punta. There isn´t a Fasano chain neither the paradisiac Brazilian beaches. But Brazilians are there.

BNL – Do you believe it is still a reversal for Brazil not having the gambling legalized?

GM – I think it is time to discuss this issue in a very natural, mature, serious and responsible way. And in an effective and definite way leaving behind the ideological bias which I think is a reversal, a delay and it doesn´t fit our modern society, in a developing country like Brazil.