Portuguese Regime Fails To Reduce Illegal Gambling

Survey commissioned by the Remote Gambling Association finds

A report commissioned by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has determined the Portuguese online gambling regime, due to be reviewed two years after the first license was issued by the gambling regulator (SRIJ), is failing to reduce gambling through unlicensed operators.

The Eurogroup Consulting report estimates that 68 percent of the Portuguese who are gambling online are gambling with unlicensed operators demonstrating that Portuguese legislation has not achieved one of its key objectives in reducing the unregulated offer, the RGA said.

The RGA is pushing for a more “sensible” licensing regime along with a workable taxation system based on Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) for all online products, saying this would bring the best possible outcome for consumers, the industry and the Government.

The Eurogroup Consulting report, which is based on an online gamblers survey, found that 38 percent of Portuguese online gamblers gamble solely with unlicensed operators and 30 percent gamble with both licensed and unlicensed operators, their choices driven primarily by who is offering the better odds.

“This is consistent with the characteristics of the Portuguese market where online sports betting is the most important segment and also the most restricted as a result of the Turnover tax,” the RGA opined.

The survey further determined that the channeling rate expressed in turnover is very low as only 39 percent of the funds gambled by Portuguese online gamblers are placed on the regulated market.

Pierre Tournier, Director of Government Relations at the RGA, said: “The legal regime for online gambling that was adopted in 2015 is clearly failing to combat the unregulated market and change is much needed to make the regulation work.

“We strongly believe that the Portuguese government should follow examples of other European countries that have successfully regulated the sector by adopting a GGR-based tax and waiving some of the restrictions such as the sports catalogue, which would attract more operators in Portugal.”