World Cup fuels Portugal’s online gambling market

28 August 2018

The Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ), the country’s gambling regulator, has reported year-on-year hikes for sports betting and online casino revenue as operators benefited from the Fifa World Cup and a structural change for the domestic poker market.

In a report covering the three months through to June 30, the SRIJ said that online sports betting revenue had increased year-on-year from €13.9m (£12.6m/$16.3m) to €20.5m. Total sports betting handle rose by more than €22m from last year to reach €89.8m.

With the 2018 World Cup having taken place in Russia from June 14 to July 15, football accounted for 74.4% of all sports wagers as Portugal exited the national team showpiece at the round of 16.

The World Cup also fuelled new customer registrations as Portugal’s eight licensed online operators reported that nearly half of Q2’s 103,000 new customers signed up in June, with the quarter’s figures representing an increase of 40,000 year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the online casino vertical posted a year-on-year revenue increase of €5.4m, reaching €16.8m.

With slots remaining the top source of online casino revenue, poker’s share increased quarter-on-quarter from 18.6% to 20.4%, with cash games and tournament poker representing 15.3% and 5.1%, respectively.

In May, Portugal joined France and Spain in a shared poker liquidity network, with PokerStars the first operator to offer a shared pool between the three countries.

In July last year, regulators from the three nations, as well as Italy, signed a deal to allow operators active across more than one of the markets to merge player pools. PokerStars’ parent company, The Stars Group, is the SRIJ’s lone poker licensee and its customers in France, Spain and Portugal can compete against players in each of the countries for larger prizes.

In February, the SRIJ detailed that Portugal generated €122.6m in online gambling revenue during the first year of new regulation in the country.

The SRIJ noted that full-year revenue was boosted by a record performance in the final three months of the year, during which revenue hit an all-time quarterly high of €36.5m. Portugal launched its new, regulated online gambling market in May 2016.

Image: Serg Stallone