Portuguese online gambling regulation ‘failing’, says RGA

7 December 2017

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has urged the Portuguese government to take action over online gambling regulation in the country, saying the current system is “failing”.

Research from the RGA and Eurogroup Consulting estimates that 68% of online punters in Portugal gamble via operators that are not licensed in the country.

Based on an online gamblers survey, the study also found 38% of Portuguese punters only gamble though unlicensed websites, while 30% choose to gamble through both licensed and unlicensed operators.

Gamblers said that the main reason for wagering with unlicensed companies is primarily driven by better odds offered by offshore operators.

The RGA said this is consistent with the characteristics of the Portuguese market, where online sports betting is the leading segment, but also the most restricted as a result of the turnover tax.

As a result, the RGA has suggested that a taxation system based on gross gaming revenue (GGR) for all online products would bring the “best possible outcome for consumers, the industry and the government”.

Portugal is due to overhaul online gambling legislation and the government last month put forward a number of proposed changes to laws and regulations.

Pierre Tournier, director of government relations at the RGA, added: “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.”

Related article: Portugal proposes changes to online gaming regulations