Thursday July 3, 2014 : PORTUGUESE ONLINE GAMING TAX TOO HIGH, SAYS R.G.A.
Operators will find it difficult to prosper under these tax proposals.
The Remote Gaming Association, a trade body that represents the interests of many major online gambling companies in Europe, has warned that the proposed punitive taxes on stakes in Portugal of 8-16 percent for online sports betting in the will render the market unviable for the vast majority of online operators who might otherwise decide to apply for licences and invest in the EU nation.
The proposed law on online gambling is presently in the process of going through the Portuguese parliamentary process (see previous InfoPowa report) and such punitive levels of taxation will severely limit competition in the Portuguese sports betting market to the detriment of local consumers and the tax revenues that the state could take were the market to be taxed at a sensible rate of gross gaming revenue, the Association says.
Whilst online sports betting operators who decide to operate under a licence will have to live with such punitive taxes, it appears that Santa Casa, the monopoly operator of offline sports betting will face only half the tax burden on its offline sports betting offer, and the RGA has called on the Portuguese government to reconsider.
Clive Hawkswood, CEO of the RGA, said Thursday:
“Whilst the RGA and its members welcome the Portuguese initiative in seeking to regulate the online gambling sector, our members are extremely concerned about the unworkable tax rates that are proposed in the draft law which is presently being considered.
"The extent of the disparity in tax burden between licensed online sports betting operators and the offline monopoly operator Santa Casa could be as much as 50 percent in favour of Santa Casa. Such a differential has the potential to create a situation of substantial illegal state aid being granted to Santa Casa by the Portuguese government whilst also destroying any hope for fair competition in a future regulated online sports betting government.
"The RGA would welcome the opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Portuguese government to ensure a level playing field for all online sports betting operators seeking to obtain licenses.”