Portugal is about to join Romania, Spain and the Netherlands and introduce the necessary gambling reforms which will further lead to opening the national market to foreign operators. People in Portugal will finally have more than one choice of online gambling operator. However, this just might bring an end to the Santa Casa de la Misericordia that has been operating as an internet gambling monopoly in Portugal.
Portugal is closer to new online gambling laws
Online gambling legislation is not something Portuguese authorities are unaware of. Actually, 2014 was supposed to see these changes, however, for some reasons that didn’t happen.
The online gambling is on topic once again and now Portugal has taken a step closer to introducing new online gambling laws after its Council of Ministers approved a bill to establish a legal framework for such activities in the country.
The first licenses are expected to be granted later in 2015. In the meantime, Portuguese officials need to deal with a few issues in order to make sure the legalization of gambling activities is not postponed yet again.
High Tax Rates
According to the new bill, all providers of gaming products and services available in Portugal will be supposed to pay a tax, equal to 15% of the gross income provided that the generated turnover is up to €5 million. However, there will be a 3% increase for every additional million, leading to a maximum of 30% increase for the operators that declare income over €10 million.
Due to such high taxes, it’s unlikely that Portugal would attract many gaming providers, especially not the smaller operators that will be basically given no opportunity to gain substantial profits.
Payment Methods and Deposits
Apart from deciding which would be the payment methods are allowed for making deposits and withdrawing funds, Portuguese officials will most probably consider prohibiting money transfers from player to player. This actually means that a player will not be given a chance to borrow money and spend it on poker or table games. Putting this measure into action will aim at raising problem gaming awareness.
Meeting EU Requirements
Portuguese authorities will be obliged to make the gambling rules and regulations compatible with the requirements of the EU. In order to achieve that, they will need to come up with a proposal that defends the interests of both players and gaming operators.
Portugal Expects €25m Annually
As it seems, revenue appears to have been the driving factor behind the legislation change. Portugal is actually hoping to generate €25 million annually. Turismo de Portugal will be overseeing the nation’s emerging online gambling market.
To apply for a license, foreign operators will each have to contribute $500 000, otherwise they will not be considered. The Portugal online gambling market is expected to start granting licenses around about the third quarter of 2015, and just after the first operators will start their activities.