Brazil is a huge country and takes up almost half of the area of the continent of South America by itself, and also has about half of the continent’s population. It’s also the fifth largest country in the world both in terms of area and population, with over 204 million people.
Brazil is a pretty wealthy country by Latin American standards, although they are only 77th in the world in terms of per capita GDP, at a little over $15,000 per person per year. Still though, this is the powerhouse of South America, and their economy is the biggest on the continent by a huge margin, and due to their sheer size, it’s also the eighth largest in the world overall. (1)
So this is a huge market for gambling, although gambling in most forms is currently illegal in Brazil. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t go on though, and in fact the market, even though not legal, is estimated to be worth upwards of $8 billion a year. (2)
A lot of the gambling market here is of the illegal variety, and while online gambling now represents about half of the gambling market here, about $4 billion a year, the land based gambling still plays a big role here, contributing a further $4 billion to the market, which is a huge amount considering that most of the land based gambling in Brazil is illegal.
It‘s not that all land-based gambling is outlawed here, as one may play the lottery legally here as well as bet on horse racing provided the betting is confined to the horse racing tracks only, so in other words no off track betting is allowed. They also treat poker a little differently as we’ll discuss later. Any other form of gambling here is illegal, including bingo, although there are thousands of illegal bingo dens that operate here. (3)
Gambling at one time much more widely permitted here, and Brazil has had a history of going back and forth on this issue, but since 1946 most gambling has been prohibited here, and this has remained in effect since. (4)
There is a movement to want to change these laws and permit more gambling, and most countries in South America do have legalized casino gambling, and they point out that about three quarters of the countries in the world have legalized gambling now, and about three quarters of the 25% who don’t are Muslim countries and disallow it based upon religious beliefs, which leaves them wondering why Brazil is among the 8% of countries in the world that disallow gambling and some think there isn’t any good reason to do so.
Some do think that gambling is immoral though, and feel strongly enough about it to set aside the economic benefits that allowing and regulating gambling would bring, and this is especially noteworthy given the huge size of the gambling market in Brazil in spite of their poker laws.
So people are gambling widely anyway here, and have to do so while risking possible arrest, but they do it anyway, and it’s a crime in Brazil to both operate land based gambling facilities and to be found gambling at them as well, but people do it anyway here, and do it a lot in fact.
Playing Poker in Brazil
Poker has really taken off in Brazil, and they rightly see poker as more of a game of skill here and even a sport, and the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) even is welcome here.
Perhaps the biggest boost to poker in Brazil has been the success that former football (soccer) superstar Ronaldo has had with the game, and Ronaldo is certainly a hero here, and has of late turned into the best spokesperson for poker that poker could ever want in this country. (5)
So these are real money tournaments, and while it’s probably true that the authorities do look the other way at least somewhat when it comes to other forms of gambling, especially bingo, poker does get special treatment here under the law.
So it’s legal to run poker “associations” where poker is indeed played for real money but this is seen as a sporting association so they get around the anti gambling laws that way. There are a lot of poker tournaments that run here, especially for a country where it’s supposed to be illegal, and they even have their own poker tours, such as the Brazilian Series of Poker that was started by Poker Stars a few years ago, who have a very strong presence in the country. (6)
So you don’t see a lot of poker clubs here but there certainly is ample opportunity for poker players in Brazil to play live poker and the availability of liver poker is much better than you see in countries where gambling isn’t technically legal, and even better than a lot of countries where it is legal.
It’s not illegal in Brazil to gamble online though, and this certainly includes online poker, and online poker in Brazil is very popular, and is one of the world’s biggest online poker markets in fact. All of the major online poker rooms happily accept players from Brazil, and it would likely take a lot to get them out of this market since it is so huge, but there is nothing preventing them at present.
Brazil is definitely big enough for online poker regulation of any sort, even a ring fenced version, and they are several times larger than some European countries who have tried this, although the best approach here would be to allow Brazilians to play on the main sites that cater to players from many countries instead of just relegating them to being able to play against other Brazilians only.
There’s been some serious talk about gambling regulation already in Brazil, and this may be something we may see in the next few years, although it’s curious that they are so dead set against land based gambling but they are embracing online gambling.
For now though, things are wide open as far as playing online poker in Brazil, and there are even some pretty good options for live poker as well, so in spite of what the laws are concerning gambling in general in Brazil, things are quite good indeed here when it comes to poker.
Top Online Sites Accepting Players From Brazil
Given that there are so many choices open to you if you are an online poker player from Brazil, you will want to focus on playing at the best poker rooms out there, and some people automatically assume that the biggest one of them all, Poker Stars, is the best place to play, but although they do have a ton of traffic, the players there are tough, and if you care about your results you will want to look elsewhere.
888 Poker, the world’s second most popular site, is far less shark infested, and that’s a big deal when it comes to choosing an online poker site, and we don’t want to send you somewhere where either you will be food for the sharks or if you are one you’ll be fighting many other sharks. 888 Poker also happens to be an awesome poker site overall and is the best online poker site in the world in our opinion.
Titan Poker and Bet365 Poker are also a couple of excellent choices, with both being on the immensely popular iPoker Network. These two sites have a lot of experience in keeping players happy and they do a great job of that, and like all of our top sites, have lots of great poker variety as well.
Party Poker is another long standing top site and while they don’t take players from a lot of countries, they have no problem at all with Brazilians. Party Poker has really improved their game over the last few years and are strongly committed to winning and keeping your business.
Black Chip Poker is a relatively new site although they’ve been up and running for a few years now and have come a long way since. The traffic here isn’t quite as big as our other 4 picks but the competition here is particularly easy to beat and that’s a big thing in our books, as it should be in yours as well.
All of these sites offer nice bonuses to new players and all are worth your checking out.
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