Portugal Online Casino Guide

Gambling Industry Overview in Portugal

The following approaches will be presented

  • Gambling legislation in Portugal
  • Gambling authorities in Portugal
  • Online casinos in Portugal
  • and more

Portugal’s gambling market is considered as quite promising, but also more relaxed when it comes to its laws in comparison to the legislation of other European countries.

All kinds of gambling activities are currently legalized in Portugal, which includes not only casinos, but lottery, too. However, the situation of online casinos in the country is said to be a bit complicated due to the fact that the local websites are aimed primarily at locally-based players.


Flag of PortugalAs mentioned above, most kinds of gambling are legalized in the country. The right of operating games of luck (also called games of chance) is granted to the state. The latter is provided with the opportunity to organize such games itself or delegate these right to a separate entity. The state is also enabled with the power to authorize games offering prizes that are not monetary. Non-charitable companies are not given the right to organize such games, except when the latter are made for a certain promotional activity. Mexico.

The exclusive right to organize social games the benefit, of which the state benefits directly, are provided to the so-called Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa Games Department (more-widely known under the abbreviation SCML). Such games are the state lottery and sports betting.

Gambling Legislation in PortugalSCML is also entitled with some exclusive rights equal to state-sanctioned monopoly – it can organize sports betting, traditional lottery, lotto, as well as instant lottery. In case the Department gets a special permittance from the country’s government, other lotteries may be organized by it. Horse racing activities and events’ authorization and organization, however, is excluded from the rights of the SCML.

Other games in Portugal such as horse racing and bingo, are permitted, but they are available to operate only in case of an inked contract. The contracts are usually for a period of two or three decades long. The game is usually restricted to a certain area of the country thanks to these contracts.

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In addition, the government has granted a number of licences to several casinos on the territory of Portugal. The country is divided into several gambling zones. Usually, one casino is permitted to exist in each gambling zone. The Government has also set a certain age in order to enter and play in the casinos in Portugal.

There are currently ten casinos in Portugal. Nine of them are located on mainland Portugal, and one is based in Madeira. Here are the nine casinos that have been licences in the country:

  • Casino Estoril
  • Casino Lisboa
  • Casino Solverde de Espinho
  • Casino Figueira da Foz
  • Hotel Algarve Casino
  • Casino da Madeira & Casino Park Hotel
  • Casino de Vilamoura
  • Casino de Povoa de Varzim
  • Casino de Monte Gordo

Relevant Legislation

Any illegal actions related to gambling operations in the country are to be punished by local laws. Organizing or participating in gambling operations and activities at venues other than casinos and bingo halls are considered as illegal and are to be prosecuted. Some of the legal punishments that are to follow any violation of the local rules can be found in Articles 108, 111 and 114 of Portuguese Decree Law 114/2011.


In 1783, the Queen D. M. Pia approved the SCML to carry out a lottery as part of a program aimed at generating some money for the poor and the royal hospital. This is how the National Lottery of Portugal started.

Then, more than a century later, the so-called “Service of Lottery” was officially created, which is how the lottery operations in the country started running under the official name “Loteria Nacional”. SCML was entitled with the responsibility of running betting games depending on the results of football matches in 1961. Then, in 1985, the lotto monitoring and control was added to the SCML’s responsibility, followed by some kinds of lotteries, including the instant ones, about ten years later.

At first, the SCML delegated some of its responsibilities to the Department of Sports Betting as well as to the National Lottery Service. Then, the SCML transferred the running, control and monitoring of all games to the Games Department that is run also under the hat of the SCML.

Online Gambling in Portugal

Internet Gambling in PortugalPortugal Government has made the country an online gambling-friendly one. All forms of gambling, including the web-based one, is currently regulated by the Government of the country. The authorities have set a goal of providing the citizens with legal, closely-monitored and most of all, safe gambling opportunities.

The Government is even operating a number of online casinos and work in collaboration with several private web-based gambling entities in order to provide reliable gambling services to the citizens of Portugal.

Up to date, the online operations of Portuguese sports booking operations and lotteries are controlled by the SCML. The country’s Government, on the other hand, has played an important role in blocking foreign online casinos that are not licensed in order for them not to reach local players.

This policy, however, was to be changed. In 2013 the Government revealed that online gambling activities were planned to be legalized in the country. The first and foremost reason why the Government decided to consider such a step was the fact that online gambling was seen as a source of benefits for the country, considering the taxation.

The licensing and taxation of online gambling was one of the paramount priorities of the country’s Council of Ministers, which sent a special bill to the Parliament in order to proceed with these matters. The main target of the Council was to introduce legal regulations by the end of 2014.

The Government plans included licensing and taxation of a large range of online products and services, which included an online casino, sports betting, horse racing wagering and poker.

In 2015, several new laws were approved by the Government of the country in order to move forward with the expansion of Portugal’s current legislation. The Council of Ministers once again approved of the online gambling and gambling-associated activities legal framework in order to create new gambling regulations for more stability of the system.

The new Online Gambling legal framework of the country related to online gambling contain a variety of legal solutions and principles focused on public interests as an objective to be protected and kept safe. The online gambling regulations also aim at the prevention of any frauds and money laundering, as well as the practice of crimes associated with online gambling activities.

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