The real is the official currency of Brazil. The currency’s symbol is similar to the traditional “dollar” sign ($), but has two strokes instead of one. Sadly, I was unable to find an example of this in Microsoft Word, so you will just have to imagine it. Brazil is one of the many countries across the world which has introduced a polymer note. 250 million 10 real notes were released in 2000, which represented around a half of the total 10 real notes in circulation. The intention is to make the notes more difficult to counterfeit, and also because they are much more resilient than the traditional paper notes, helping to reduce the Brazilian Government’s printing costs.
Recent years has seen the Brazilian economy grow rapidly. The advent of the new century saw Brazil grouped with its fellow emerging economies in Russia, India and China, defined as the BRIC economies. This acronym is regarded as a symbol of the changing economic world order, with these rapidly growing economies challenging the established order, with the developing BRIC countries asserting themselves against the developed economies of the western world.
Just as the 2008 banking crisis put the brakes on western growth, Brazil had its own domestic crisis in 2015. At the time of writing, the real remains valued at just under 4 real to the dollar.
Brazil may be a far off land to British and European minds, but its importance to us has risen considerably in recent years. In the popular imagination, this is mostly because of sporting reasons. Both the football World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016) were awarded to Brazil, making it the centre of attention for virtually the entire globe. For this reason alone, the number of British tourists has vastly increased, with many British (or most probably predominantly English) football fans travelling to the land of what is widely regarded as the best international football nation in the world in 2014. Many more tourists and sports fans are expected to visit the major Brazilian city of Rio for the summer Olympics.
Bingo is surprisingly popular in Brazil. While casinos and gambling generally is illegal and therefore officially discouraged, bingo is allowed. Unlike in the United Kingdom however, the national government does not licence Brazilian bingo operators to offer their games online. Therefore, Brazilian bingo fans have to play their favourite game via foreign registered sites, making the use of Brazilian real on UK regulated sites a real possibility (no pun intended). This is most likely to be via debit or credit cards linked to Brazilian bank accounts, although there is talk of the Brazilian government planning to attempt to block these transactions in the future.