Regulation of online casinos in PortugalThe question of a regulated online gambling industry in Portugal has been on the cards for over ten years but now it looks as if this regulation of online casinos may finally become a reality by the end of the year. The country’s Council of Ministers approved the bill to license internet casinos, sports betting and online poker so when this is passed by the Portuguese Parliament legislators will work on drafting the laws necessary for regulation of the online gambling industry.

New Body to Supervise Online Gambling

At the moment gambling in Portugal is under the control of the Santa Casa da Misericordia and when the new regulations governing online gambling come in to force, the Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa would keep its monopoly over lotteries and land based betting. Representatives of Portuguese land based casinos are disappointed that the government hasn’t given them the rights to exclusively operate licensed online casinos. The Portuguese gambling bill doesn’t envisage a monopoly over online gambling and the system will be based on the more liberal regimes in place in some other European countries. Online casino operators who are approved for licences under the proposed legislation would be controlled by the new Gaming General Inspection ( Inspeccao – Geral de Jogos) under the Portuguese Tourism Ministry.

Regulation and Taxes

The gambling bill would place several restrictions on any online operators who were to be granted a licence to offer their services to Portuguese players. Their online casinos would need to have a Portuguese .pt domain name, financial operations would have to be carried out through a Portuguese bank and they would need some legal and tax representation in the country. The actual amount of tax that would be imposed on licensed internet operators is not known yet but it is thought to be between 15 and 30 per cent for games of chance and it may be between 8 and 16 per cent for sports betting and betting on horse racing. The new legislation would strengthen measures against online casinos operating illegally in the country and could include blocking the websites of any unlicensed sites aimed at Portuguese players. Attempts have been made again in recent years to licence and regulate the online gambling industry but for various reasons these have failed. However the recent attempt looks promising even if some believe that it is more likely that the measures will be in place early in 2015 rather than at the end of this year.