The Portuguese online gambling market has been through much in the recent few years as did most of the EU markets. Due to the political system of the European Union countries have a tough time controlling online gaming. The Portuguese government always wanted to have a good grip on online casinos, whereas the Troika was always in favor of a more liberal approach. Spears were broken, but eventually they met halfway. Gambling in Portugal is legal, and with the latest framework that came to force not long ago online casinos can target this market, but only if they’re licensed by the local government. Offering only a handful of licenses makes online casinos scarce, but at least the players coming from the most western EU country can access the best the casinos have to offer.
Before the market liberalization the only betting and lottery provider was the Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisiboa (SCML). The entity that was and still is, responsible for the regulation of gaming activities is called Remote Gambling Association or the RGA. SCML and RGA have been in conflict for ages. RGA was imposing rigorous taxes that made gambling unattractive to the Portuguese public. The biggest issue was the turnover tax RGA imposed on online betting instead of taxing the gross profit the provider generated. Today, online casinos who get RGA’s green light can reach out to the wide Portuguese public with no constraints whatsoever. Considering the situation in other EU countries Portugal is one of them who managed to cope with the issue rather well.
What’s important to know is that in 2015 online casinos which are based outside of Portugal became able to provide their services and products coming from Portugal.
Sports betting is way more popular in Portugal, both on the land and the online side of the market. However, the demand for online casino games is increasing day by day. Portugal’s had a casino tax hell from quite some time. With the latest framework coming in force the government hopes that this issue will finally be resolved.
On the grounds of Portugal there are 10 land based licensed casinos with the biggest one being Estoril Casino. Online Casino can enter the market by applying for a license. One of the requirements is a mandatory €500,000 security bond. All online casinos which attempt to position themselves in the Portuguese market have their own website versions in Portuguese. Casino operators value each market
Online casinos and poker operators are taxed 15% of their gross gaming revenue if the casino’s operating income is below the mark of €5m. This tax rate increases by 3% for every €1m of additional income beyond the €5m mark up to a maximum of 30% at a threshold of €30m.