Foreign Sites Dominate Portugal’s Online Gambling Market
Portugal has one of the fastest-growing gambling industries in Europe. Interestingly, international gambling sites are currently dominating Portugal’s online gambling market. It’s a little surprising, considering the government’s local gambling operator push.
A lot is going on in this country. Let’s take a quick look at the current state of online gambling in Portugal.
Gambling Laws in Portugal, Explained
Portugal, like every other country in Europe, has a rich history of gambling. For many years, however, the government here set strict laws on both the land-based and online gambling industry. The country’s national lottery held a monopoly over all online gambling operations.
Foreign gambling websites were unregulated here. Technically, it was illegal for these companies to offer their services to Portuguese players. Despite this, many of the top online gambling sites in Europe continued to run here.
In 2015, the government realized that something needed to change. Lawmakers passed a new bill that allows foreign gambling companies to operate in Portugal after obtaining a license from the government. It also granted the Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal permission to oversee the country’s online gambling industry.
Online gambling operators here face some of the highest tax rates in Europe. Casino revenue is taxes between 15-30%. Sports betting operators are taxed at 8-16%.
Despite the high tax rates, a huge number of major gambling companies now legally operate inside this country. There are also many local online gambling operators here. According to new reports, foreign gambling websites are more popular.
International Sites and Portugal’s Online Gambling Market
Everyone knew that Portugal’s online gambling market was growing. What we didn’t realize was how popular foreign gambling sites were compared to the country’s domestic online gambling operators. According to new reports, more than half of online gamblers in this country prefer to make their wagers through international sites.
The Associação Portuguesa de Apostas e Jogos Online (APAJO) released the results of a recent survey that shows 56% percent of individuals prefer to gamble through sites based in other nations. It’s disappointing news to the government, who’ve been working hard to bring more players to domestic websites.
Things seem to be improving on this front, though. A similar study made in 2018 revealed that 75% of individuals here were wagering through international sites.
Interestingly, it appears that more individuals are choosing to play through local companies. We’ll need to wait and see how long this trend continues for.
Portugal Continues to Review Its Gambling Tax Structure
As we mentioned earlier, Portugal has some of the highest tax rates in Europe. For much of 2019, officials have called for a change to the current tax structure here. The EGBA, in particular, wants to see these taxes lessen for licensed gambling operators.
This group believes that high tax rates are forcing some companies to leave the regulated market. As a result, more individuals are choosing to play through sites that do not contribute revenue to Portugal’s economy.
The government has repeatedly claimed that it’s looking at the current tax structure. Unfortunately, nothing has changed. Many now believe that it would take something drastic for any real changes to Portugal’s online gambling market to be made.
For now, things appear to be improving. Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal is releasing the Q3 financial reports soon.
Do you think Portugal’s online gambling market should change? Let us know in the comments section below!
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