Tuesday April 19,2016 : STILL NO ONLINE POKER LICENSES IN PORTUGAL (Update)
Confusion regarding regulator's player liquidity strategy and involvement of networks.
The confusion in the Portuguese online poker market continued this week as reports surfaced that a spokesman for the Servico de Regulacao e Inspecao de Jogos (SRIJ) – the Portuguese regulator – had revealed to a player delegation that the body was in discussions on shared player liquidity with Italy, France and Spain – all ring-fenced markets – and possibly even with the UK Gambling Commission.
This follows reports late last year that the regulator was adamant that it would insist on ring-fencing its online poker market, and a subsequent warning only last week that the market would not be permitted to accept online poker networks (only standalone operators) i.e. business-to-consumer licensing only.
The lack of clarity is surprising, given that the regulation of online poker in Portugal has been under consideration for over two years as lawmakers went back and forth, reportedly prompting some operators to pack up and leave.
With legalization finally passed (but licenses still not issued), there remains confusion as to what form the local industry will take, hardly an encouraging environment for operators, and one exacerbated by high taxation of up to 30 percent of GGR.
That will probably necessitate higher rake for operators to survive, but such charges will hardly appeal to players, who can still access offshore sites with better player economics.