Portugal Hits New Online Gambling Revenue Highs

  • Record-breaking Q4 2019 saw a 52% year-on-year rise in total online gambling revenue
  • Sports betting made up €33.4m of the €65.4m revenue for the period
  • Income from online casino gambling accounted for the remaining €32m
  • The final quarter brought about a sharp increase in registered user accounts
hand holding a flag of Portugal against a city backdrop
Portugal’s online gambling sector has had a record-breaking Q4 in 2019 and an annual revenue increase of 52%. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A record-breaking quarter

The online gambling sector in Portugal saw a record-breaking final quarter in 2019. The revenue figures were issued by the Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ), the national gambling regulatory body. 

a year-on-year rise of 52% as well as a new quarterly record

The dozen licensed online gambling operators collected a total revenue of €65.4m ($72.21m), representing a year-on-year rise of 52% as well as a new quarterly record. The period saw €11.4m ($12.6m) more revenue than the previous quarter. 

2019 also saw a crackdown on illegal operators targeting Portuguese residents, with 30 offshore sites given cease and desist orders. Internet service providers blocked 15 illegal operator domains. 13 errant operators are now under investigation by local authorities, with potential criminal proceedings in the works.

Breaking down the results

The total betting turnover in the final quarter of 2019 was also a record €185m ($204.3m). The nine online sportsbooks in operation generated €33.4m.

The most popular sport to bet on in Portugal through an online sportsbook was soccer, garnering almost 75% of all sports bets for the period. It was followed by basketball (13%), tennis (6%), and hockey (6%).

Online casino revenue for the quarter was €32m ($35.3m). The total user spend on online casino sites was €852m ($940.7m), a massive increase from the €276m ($304.7m) paid out in the final quarter of 2018. 

total user spend on online casino sites was €852m

Almost 69% of all bets placed at online casinos were on slots games. Next in terms of popularity was roulette with a 13.6% market share, followed by blackjack with an 8.1% market share. Poker made up 9.3% of the total casino spend, with cash games proving more profitable for the operators than tournaments. 

The figure of total customers registered for online gambling accounts rose year-on-year from 103,500 up to nearly 164,000 accounts. Three new operators got licenses from the SRIJ during this period, one of which is yet to launch. 

Higher taxes on the way

In spite of the successes achieved by the gaming industry, operators in Portugal are concerned as higher online gambling taxes are soon to be implemented in the country.

Portugal’s hefty tax structure for the sector already shows one of the highest rates in Europe. Operators have for some time been looking for tax cuts in the nation, but to no avail. 

There are even plans as part of the 2020 budget to increase taxes on online casinos from 15% to 25%. Tax on revenue from betting exchanges will jump from 15% to 35%. These changes will not come into force until 2021 at the earliest. 

Q4 2019’s record online gambling revenue resulted in €23.6m ($26.1m) in taxes collected by the Portuguese government for the period. This indicates a 37% increase in tax intake year-on-year.

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