You Are Here: Home » Country » Portugal

Portugal Online Casinos

Portugal Online CasinosAs this article goes to press Portugal’s new gambling regime is merely days old. The country passed a law on the 28th of June 2015 which will create a new legal framework for online gaming. This is set allow foreign-based operators to apply for a licence to offer services in the country for the first time.

In general, Portugal has always been a gambling-friendly country, with the government regulating and taxing all forms of lotteries, casinos and betting. Ten licenses have been issued for land-based casinos, with nine on the mainland and one based on Madeira. Online sports betting, lotteries, casino gaming and slots are all also legal in Portugal, but only through government-approved websites. There are over 5,000 official websites and kiosks where Portuguese nationals can bet through the governments officially sanctioned operators.

One of the main reasons that Portugal is so open to gambling is the high tax rates imposed on operators, which according to reports finances 62% of the national tourism industry. The driving force behind the new legislation is the intention to raise an additional €25m per year in taxation. This means from now on, local players will have legal access to a huge variety of slot machines and online casinos in Portuguese. Here are some of our top picks for Portugal casinos online:

Best Portuguese Casino Sites in 2017

  • Rank
  • Casino
  • Bonus
  • Play
1
100% UP TO €1000
2
100% UP TO €1600
3
100% UP TO €200
4
100% UP TO €300
5
100% UP TO €750

Best Portuguese Casino Sites in 2017

1
Spin Palace Casino
100% UP TO €1000
Play Now
2
Jackpot City Casino
100% UP TO €1600
Play Now
3
Prime Slots Casino
100% UP TO €200
Play Now
4
Mega Casino
100% UP TO €300
Play Now
5
Ruby Fortune Casino
100% UP TO €750
Play Now

Portugal Throws Open its Doors

The new legislation marks a sweeping change to the status quo in Portugal, and will undo the monopoly that had previously existed in the country. The Games Department of Santa Casa de Misericordia (SCML) was responsible for all ‘social games’ in Portugal, which the government defines as sports betting and lotteries. A second group – The Inspector General of Games – was responsible for all other types of gaming, such as bingo, poker, casino games and slot machines.

The government has come under increasing pressure from the EU to reform its laws in line with EU free market regulations. However, until recently, the Portuguese authorities had resisted and had upheld their monopoly by requiring Internet Service Providers to block any unlicensed websites.

The legal framework for the new legislation has now been made public, with the Portuguese government stating its intention to ‘sign up as many operators as possible, particularly international operators.”

It’s all about the Money

As many European countries are discovering, the online market is almost impossible to police, and Portugal has taken the decision to regulate the industry to try and gain revenue through taxes rather than spend resources on trying to block foreign operators.

The tourism budget is heavily reliant on income from gambling. Online betting operations have regularly been cited as one of the main reasons for the downturn in the gambling sector in Portugal over the last six years. Reports show that total revenues from land-based casinos fell by 2% in 2014 to €267m, but overall that represents a 33% drop from a high of €381m in 2008 – a year before the global economic crisis. Portugal is one of the states still suffering heavily from that crisis, and the legislation has been introduced to generate an estimated additional €25m for the country’s tax pot.

Licenses will be issued by SCML and will last for a period of 3 years. They will be available for casino games, sports betting, horse racing, poker and bingo, but prospective licensees will have to show that they are reputable, and make financial guarantees before they will be permitted to launch an online casino in Portugal.

Other stipulations require all operators to have a physical presence in Portugal. Likewise, websites must use a .pt domain and financial transactions must be carried out through a Portuguese bank account.

A Taxing Situation

Clearly the main motivation for Portugal to introduce this legislation is to earn money from tax revenue, but the government has been criticized for an overly-excessive tax regime, which some predict will ultimately lead to big players leaving the market altogether.

Operators of online gaming services will be subject to tax rates ranging from 15% to 30%, while tax on sports betting will range from 8% to 16%, but crucially, this will be based on turnover rather than revenue. That has drawn complaints from some European operators who claim it will be difficult to sustain business in the country, and the claim was bolstered by PriceWaterhouseCoopers who were commissioned to conduct a study on the new regime by the Remote Gaming Association.

The report made for grim reading, suggesting that the refusal to switch to a revenue-bases taxation system could cause up to 4 out of 5 operators to leave the Portuguese market within the first year of the new regulations. A mass exodus, says the report, could cost the Portuguese authorities up to €20m in lost tax revenue.

It will be interesting to see how that situation plays out, but as far as slots players are concerned, the new law can only be good news. As more operators gain licences, there should be more choice for Portuguese players, better bonus deals, better odds, and an even wider selection of casino games and slot machines.

You've Won a Free Spin

 
SPIN