Power

Bolsonaro goes all in on gambling to boost the economy

Despite opposing the return of casinos during his time as a congressman, President Jair Bolsonaro is leading the charge for extravagant gambling resorts around Brazil

Bolsonaro goes all in on gambling to boost the economy
Image: Adam Vilimek

On the night of April 30, 1946, in the iconic Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio de Janeiro, the last casino roulette wheel spun in Brazil. Or, at least, the last legal game of roulette. The following day, then-President Eurico Gaspar Dutra issued a decree that outlawed gambling, stating that it “went against Brazil’s religious principles” and created “pernicious abuses to morals and customs.” At that point, Brazil had roughly 70 casinos, and the gambling industry directly employed 40,000 workers.

Though illegal, gambling continued to exist in Brazil, whether in the form of the fabled jogo do bicho animal lottery...

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