Can Brazil’s Unofficial Lottery Transfer to iGaming Platforms?
The iGaming sector has been flourishing around the world for some time. Yet changes are underway that will allow it to move into the South American market. One of the biggest sources of revenue will come from Brazil, a country of over 212 million people. But will the country’s unofficial lottery, Jogo Do Bicho, ever be suitable for a European or global audience?
Changes to Brazilian gambling scene
Online sports betting arrived in Brazil in 2018. This was followed by the opening of several casinos in 2020 which are now available in every state. With a 75% ratio of the population hooked up to the internet or connected by mobile devices, all the parts are in place for an iGaming takeover. Major game developers like Play‘n GO have already started to make the move.
On the surface, this seems like a straightforward switch. The best online casinos in the US and Europe have had a long time to perfect their art. Providing bonuses, easy-to-use interfaces and secure payment methods should easily transfer to the Brazilian market. This also applies to the many table games and live dealer experiences. Yet there is one Brazilian game engrained in the culture of the country that is crying out for an iGaming audience but may not travel so well: Jogo Do Bicho.
What is Jogo Do Bicho?
Jogo Do Bicho translates to the animal game. It is a local lottery that bases itself on the national lottery game which is ingrained in popular culture.
The Brazilian lottery consists of 100 numbers. In Jogo Do Bicho they break down into groups of four, and each gets assigned an animal. Betting can take place on animal groups, or people can pick out a number. Each of these will have a different payout.
Part of its cultural appropriation has been down to the use of the animals themselves. They transcend boundaries and move into superstition. For example, a derailed locomotive once published in a paper had the last digits of its registration as the elephant’s numbers. So much betting took place that bankers who run the game could not honour the bets made.
How can it be used in iGaming?
If Jogo Do Bicho can transfer to the iGaming sector remains to be seen. Its themes of cartoon animals are forbidden in most countries’ gambling laws, as they attract underage gamblers. If a developer were to adapt Jogo Do Bicho for a worldwide or European audience, it may find the game limited to Brazil regardless.
Another issue it may face is that part of the appeal of the game is that unlimited amounts can be wagered. You could bet as little as $1 to $100,000 in a week. This is against the ethos of responsible gambling on which many of the world’s gambling markets are based and without this, Jogo Do Bicho may not transfer to the realm of safe gambling. If this is the case, the ease of use and safety of iGaming could destroy Jogo Do Bicho altogether.