The Federal Public Ministry (MPF) of Brazil has launched a public civil action to stop Caixa from demanding a minimum amount in online lotteries while the pandemic is in place.
The lottery entity managed by Caixa Econômica Federal requires a minimum amount of $30 reais to place bets online. However, people can purchase tickets at lottery shops from $4.50 reais, so the minimum required in digital channels forces consumers to buy multiple lottery tickets.
After an inquiry from the MPF, Caixa explained that online lotteries have higher operating costs, therefore “charging a minimum amount is justified.” As reported by the MPF, the national bank was already in charge of different studies to analyze the possibility of reducing the minimum amount, although it later determined that the operating cost cannot be lowered and a reduction is not possible.
On the other hand, the MPF also requested in the civil action that Caixa resubmits to the court all the data on the operating costs of the online lottery to demonstrate the difference between physical and digital services.
Mariane Guimarães de Mello Oliveira, National Prosecutor in Goiás, argued that the bank’s actions represent an abusive practice and violate the principle of equality.
“Caixa treats consumers of the same product differently and without a viable justification, which makes it unfairly difficult for those in need to access the online option,” she said, adding if Caixa fails to comply, it should receive a daily fine of $5,000 reais.