Portugal successfully joined regulation

28 Feb 2018

Portugal’s first year in the regulated online gaming market has managed to impress even the most cynical of pundits. The total gross gaming revenue for 2017 reached an impressive €122.6m ($152.2m). The seven licensed operators in Portugal, contributed €10m more compared to 2016. Sports betting, the main income source totaled €68.1m for 2017 and €20.5m for the fourth semester of the year, highlighting a quarterly record.

The Online casino’s – poker included- annual contribution of €54.4m is also considerable. Slots enjoy the biggest piece in the pie (45%). Poker cash games contributed with a 19.7%, French roulette with 19.2%, blackjack with 9.2%, with poker tournaments bringing 6.7%.

12% tax to be reconsidered

According to the national gambling regulator Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ), the government retained €54.2m of the total amount. The current tax on sports wagering turnover is 12%, which is considered to be rather high and therefore discouraging for operators.

Shared Liquidity to boost poker market

The good news for Portugal do no end here, as the online poker industry will boom thanks to SRIJ, which recently approved a model for share liquidity, following the positive example of France and Spain. Italy is currently considering implementing the share liquidity system and might to do so soon.

A paradox exists, however, for the small European country: Bad vertical performance offers significant incentives for growth. In any case, Portugal’s first year of regulation is very promising and there are many good numbers to follow.

How is gambling in Portugal regulated?

Since May 2016, the online gaming market in Portugal is fully regulated, after two years of extensive work. Despite the signs of growth in Portugal’s online gambling industry, the country is not a heaven either for international operators or local bettors. Operators must contribute a heavy tax from 8%-16% depending on their annual turnover. To be noted that local betting companies are the privileged ones, since they pay half of the tax. As a result, local players have to opt between international unlicensed bookies or national ones offering extremely low payouts.

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