Wednesday August 1,2012 : PORTUGAL GEARING UP FOR ONLINE GAMBLING?
 
Mixed signals from cash-strapped country
 
Portugal has a clear preference for a gambling monopoly operated by the Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa, judging by its support for the company's clash with Betclic in the courts last year, but this week there were signs that the cash strapped country still views online gambling as a potential source of tax revenues.
 
Reports in the newspaper Daily News Portugal indicate that lawmakers are currently studying a voluminous multi-ministry report exploring different options for the regulation of online gambling.
 
The choices reportedly include:
 
* Limited liberalisation that excludes online casino gaming and effectively gives the Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa monopoly control over regulation and licensing of other online betting activities.
 
* Maintaining the status quo and
 
* A more liberal regulatory and licensing environment similar to that in other European countries, such as neighbouring Spain.
 
The newspaper notes that lawmakers appear to favour the first option, which is hardly an encouraging sign for operators from other European Union countries keen to enter the Portuguese online market.