Rio defends the end of the lottery monopoly in Brazil

This week Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court (STF) will continue the case to determine whether the lottery monopoly in the country should be dissolved. 

A representative from Rio de Janeiro’s prosecution’s office, Emerson Barbosa Maciel, presented his arguments against the lottery monopoly and said that states have jurisdiction when it comes to the operation of those services. The Court will resume the case today (September 30).

The lawsuit, filed by the Brazilian Association of State Lotteries (ABLE) is regarding the end to the federal government’s lottery monopoly and for each state to exploit their own lotteries.

In response to the closure of the Rio de Janeiro State Lottery (Loterj) in 2017, the Rio de Janeiro State Attorney General’s Office (PGE-RJ) filed a complaint in the Court arguing that they would lose more than $3.5m.

Barbosa Maciel said that the current system violates the country’s principles of non-intervention and monopoly prohibition. According to information shared by BNL Data, the prosecutor assured that the Union’s authority “does not authorize it to have the exclusivity to exploit lottery draws, without the co-participation of the states.”

In addition, he said that since lotteries are not games of chance but a public service and that the revenue should always be used for public programs. Barbosa Maciel explained that 70% of Loterj’s funds are used in social programs and assured that other states have also used those funds to fight the negative effects of the pandemic.

On the other hand, Brazil’s Deputy Attorney General Humberto Jacques de Medeiros said that the current system represents a network of agencies throughout the country that work as social benefit spaces. “The system has logic and its breach would be a violation…of the ability to generate public revenue through lotteries,” he said.