Portuguese Regulator Issues Eighth Online Gambling License

The online gambling regulator of Portugal – Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ) – issued late last week the eighth license for the provision of iGaming services in the country’s recently regulated market.

The eighth license’s holder is actually a company that is already present in Portugal’s regulated iGaming environment. Estoril Sol, which was issued the first online casino licensed last summer, will now offer licensed sports betting services. The company announced that its sportsbook was powered by software from Belgian iGaming supplier GAMING1.

Here it is also interesting to note that Estoril Sol has been taking part in Portugal’s gambling industry for more than five decades now. The company operates three land-based casinos across the country, with those being Casino Lisboa, Casino da Póvoa, and Casino Estoril.

Portugal regulated its online gambling last spring, when its new legislative framework came into effect. SRIJ was tasked with regulating and overseeing the industry. The regulatory body issued the first online gambling license in May 2016. BEM Operations Ltd., the local subsidiary of gambling operator Betclic, was the first one to receive the green light for entering the local market. The company initially offered sports betting and later on obtained a license for the operation of online casino games.

Bet Entertainment Technologies Ltd launched the Bet sports betting brand shortly after. As mentioned above, Estoril Sol and its iGaming subsidiary became the first licensed provider of online casino services in the country’s upgraded regulatory environment. Similarly to the Betclic brand, the Bet website was also later on authorized to go live with online casino games.

The Casino Portugal received a sports betting license in June 2017. Given its name, it will probably seek an online casino license, as well.

Here it is also important to note that PokerStars entered Portugal’s iGaming market late last year. The world’s largest online poker room is actually the sole provider of online poker services in the country.

The market enjoyed stable growth during the first three quarters of its existence, reaching its peak during the first quarter of 2017. Revenue during the first three months of the year totaled €31.4 million. However, the market shrunk significantly during the three months ended June 30, 2017. SRIJ reported revenue of €25.4 million for the reviewed period.

The regulation of Portugal’s online gambling market was not that much welcome, despite the move has been highly anticipated. The country’s lawmaker crafted a regulatory framework that imposed taxes many considered too high, with the Remote Gambling Association being among the most powerful opponents.

Under Portugal’s gambling laws, online sports betting and casino games are taxed separately. Sportsbook operators are taxed on turnover and at between 8% and 16%, with the rate increasing proportionally. Online casino operators are also taxed on turnover and the rate grows yet again proportionally all the way up to 30%.

The RGA has repeatedly called for a review of the country’s gambling laws, but Portuguese authorities have remained firm on their stance that a review can and will only be conducted two years after the market’s official regulation.

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