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Portugal’s online gambling law ‘fails to reduce unregulated market’

A report commissioned by the Remote Gambling Association, has estimated that 68% of Portuguese online gamblers wager via unlicensed operators within the country.

The Eurogroup Consulting Report, based on an online gamblers survey, “demonstrates that the Portuguese legislation has not achieved one of its key objectives, namely reducing the unregulated offer.”

Regulator Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) awarded its first licence to Betclic Everest in May 2016, just over a year after a regulated online gambling market was approved by the Portuguese government.

The RGA has stated its belief that a more sensible licensing regime, alongside a more workable taxation system based on gross gaming revenue would produce the best outcome, with a review of Portugal’s online gaming regime due two years after the first license was awarded.   

Pierre Tournier, Director of Government Relations at the RGA, stated that “the legal regime for online gambling that was adopted in 2015 is clearly failing to combat the unregulated market and change is much needed to make the regulation work.

“We strongly believe that the Portuguese government should follow examples of other European countries that have successfully regulated the sector by adopting a GGR-based tax and waiving some of the restrictions such as the sports catalogue, which would attract more operators in Portugal.”

A deeper look at the stats coming out of the survey found that 38% of Portugal nationals gamble on unlicensed operators and 30% place wagers on both licensed and unlicensed, with only 39% of the funds gambled by Portuguese online gamblers placed on the regulated market.

Respondents to the survey stated that their decision to use offshore operators is primarily driven by the better odds that are offered.

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