Evangelical Political Front Resists Rio Mayor's Casino Dreams

Mayor of Rio wants to construct a casino in the port zone; Gambling is still not legal in Brazil

Anna Virginia Balloussier
Rio de Janeiro

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Crivella (Republicans-RJ), cherishes the dream of building a casino on the city's waterfront. But for now, Jesus doesn't support the cause.

At least that is what evangelical parliamentarians say in Congress, where a 1991 bill regulating gambling in Brazil, banned 73 years ago, is ready to be voted in the House floor. Another, from 2014, awaits its turn in the Senate.

Mayor Marcelo Crivella Foto: Marcos de Paula/Prefeitura do Rio

Without the approval of one of them, Crivella can bid farewell to a structure that will attract millions of tourists and billions of reais to the country, he argues. The evangelical and Catholic benches resist the mayor's lip, who is also the nephew of the leader of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Edir Macedo, and a licensed bishop of the same church.

"Now you ask, but you are evangelical… I am the mayor of the city. Whoever thinks it is a sin doesn't have to play," Crivella told Folha. His fellow believers, however, do not find the matter that simple and promise to block the law as much as they can.

On the evangelical front, the humor for the subject is sour. "We are totally against, without the possibility of negotiation," said Deputy Marco Feliciano (Pode-SP). "Gambling leads to addiction, and addiction destroys families. The state cannot be a partner in this. It is said to heat up the economy. What is the price of a destroyed family?"

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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