L-DAY CLOSE FOR PORTUGUESE ONLINE GAMBLING
Portuguese online market will be liberalised June 28.
The long-awaited liberalisation of the Portuguese online gambling market is now on the near horizon as the country prepares for licensed and regulated activity commencing June 28.
Portugal's Secretary of State for Tourism, Adolfo Mesquita Nunes reiterated this week: “We are preparing everything so that on June 28 the technical control structure is operating. We want to sign up as many operators as possible, particularly international operators.”
Mesquita Nunes has repeatedly confirmed that there is no limit to the number of licenses available, that the market will be open to all, and that the first licenses will be issued shortly after the launch date.
Earlier this year Portuguese president Aníbal António Cavaco Silva signed the new licensing regulations into law as Decree-Law No. 66/2015 The cash-strapped country is hoping to realise an additional Euro 25 million for its coffers through the licensing and regulatory initiative.
There has been no indication that the government will reconsider the tax rates proposed for licensed operators, which have been criticised as too high by the Remote Gaming Association
Companies will pay tax at a rate of between 8 and 16 percent of sports betting turnover, and between 15 and 30 percent of casino and games revenue, whilst peer to peer betting, such as betting exchanges and cash poker, will be taxed at 15 percent on revenue.
It also appears that Portugal's land gambling industry is less than happy about what it sees as potential competition; Estoril Sol parent group Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau is on record as protesting that online gambling should have been restricted to existing land casino licensees, and that the tax rates proposed for online activity are lower than those levied on land casinos.
STDM claims that its loss-making Póvoa de Varzim casino pays 65 percent of gaming revenue in taxes, and its two other operations, Casino Estoril and Casino Lisboa pay up to 50 percent.