Brazil Outlaws Internet Poker in Public

BrazilBrazil has a long and complicated history when it comes to gambling in general and poker in particular. The latest development, according to an article published on CardsChat*, the country has passed a law banning the playing of online poker in public. Anyone caught using their mobile device to access an online poker site while in a public space now faces a stiff fine and, in certain cases, potentially a short jail sentence.

At first glance, it may seems surprising that the Brazilian government would clamp down in this way, given that the overall trend seems to have been towards increased acceptance. Although it’s illegal to operate a poker website out of Brazil, no attempt has been made to prevent foreign sites from accepting Brazilian customers. In 2011, the country declared poker to be a game of skill, and poker tournaments to be akin to sporting events, thus exempting poker from the country’s blanket ban on gambling; among other things, this has led to the rise of the Brazil Series of Poker (BSOP) and this year’s hosting of the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) Grand Final in Sao Paulo.

The government has also been promising that it is working towards regulated online poker, but with the caveat that such legislation will take years to iron out. Given that seemingly positive attitude towards poker, it might seem surprising to some that the government would restrict and punish online players with such a law.

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