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Brazilian Commercial Bingo

Bingo halls occupy a legal gray area in Brazil. Originally they were legalized in 1993. In 1998, they were permitted to house electronic bingo machines. The industry experienced explosive growth, and by 2003 there were over 1,200 bingo halls.

In 2004, bingo halls were banned due to a national corruption scandal involving high-ranking officials being linked to illegal gambling and organized crime. A number of bingo halls were able to get court injunctions that allowed them to stay open. Bingo workers staged massive demonstrations to protest the closures. The Senate eventually overturned the bingo ban.

In April 2007, Brazilian Federal Police arrested 25 people for their involvement with bingo halls.

The Federal Supreme Court ruled in June 2007 that bingo operators could no longer stay open based on appeals for protection from the judicial state. In September 2007, the Supreme Federal Court declared that the decree authorizing bingo halls under the Río de Janeiro lottery was unconstitutional. Despite this ruling, the legality of bingo halls in Brazil remained uncertain.

There have been a number of pieces of legislation attempting to deal with bingo, but no progress has been made in setting up a new regulatory scheme. Bingo halls continue to operate with individual permission from local judges.
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