Portuguese online gambling bill sees operators exit market

PortugalThe 28 June introduction of the Online Gambling Bill by Portugal’s Council of Ministers has seen the announcement of market exits’ by 888, Betfair and bet365.

All three operators sent market exit communications to players, affiliates and media partners this week in order to inform them of their decision to no longer offer services and to detail account withdrawal procedures.

The Portuguese market exit follows last month’s decision by Amaya Inc and William Hill to withdraw services. At present all three exiting operators have given no information as to whether they will look to gain market licenses.

Portugal’s new online gambling regime has been met with criticism regarding its high tax rates, which may not present favourable market conditions to new market entrants.

In September 2014 the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) noted its opposition of Portuguese gambling regulator  Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa (SCML), stating that its regulatory plans were not viable in creating a competitive market.

The RGA viewed that the high taxes set were a placed due to fears by the SCML of increased competition on the regulators land based sports betting operations. The industry body warned that Portugal may see an increase in unlicensed activity for not setting itself appropriate market conditions.

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