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Portugal’s online gaming legislation officially approved

04 May 2015

The gaming legislation for Portugal was passed almost a year ago and since the market has moved from strength to strength. With yet another robust step into online gaming, Portugal will soon be opening this market to foreign operators of the industry. Portugal’s secretary of state for tourism, Adolfo Mesquita Nunes has affirmed the announcement and confirmed the market will be opened on June 28th 2015.

The President of Portugal, Aníbal António Cavaco Silva has signed and approved the country’s online gaming legislation as Decree-law No. 66/2015. Mesquita Nunes spoke at a press conference last week where he confirmed that there will be no restrictions on the amount of licenses available, which will certainly benefit the market in Portugal, as they anticipate large numbers of international operators to enter the market. In view of revenue statistics from comparable markets, PokerStars will likely reach the top through just online poker revenue streaming, with the assumption that it dominates the new Portuguese online gaming market, as it does in other regulated markets. Giant iGaming companies and operators like Bwin.party, 888 and Unibet, with revenue streaming coming from predominantly non- poker games, will also be positioned at the top of the market.

The Secretary of State for tourism, Adolfo Mesquita Nunes stated with confidence that the Launch of the technical control structure in this coming June 2015, would not absorb additional waiting time when the first operating licences will be awarded. To guarantee value and quality to the market, all operators must perform a demonstration of their respective systems and convince the state that their operations are reputable in the market, to secure their licences.

With such a bold move into online gaming, Portugal has knowingly anticipated the returns on financial projections with generated tax revenue of €25 million euros for the government. The Remote Gambling Association have strongly criticised their concerns that the Portuguese government is implementing higher taxation on licences imposed on iGaming operators, however the secretary of state has dismissed these allegations strongly. iGaming operators will be taxed at a reasonable rate of 8 and 16% of sports betting turnover and between 15 and 30% of all online online casino and games turnover.

Professional Services Network Company, Pricewaterhousecoopers have predicted an additional tax revenue income of €20 million euros, should the government of Portugal shift to a revenue based system.

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