Skip to content

Online Gaming in Portugal

Authored by - Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados (Last Updated Oct 2023)

Overview

Restricted

Portugal Online Gaming Overview

Regulated
Online gambling was unregulated in Portugal until the approval of the Online Gambling Act in 2015 (Decree-Law no. 66/2015, of April 29). The Online Gambling Act has established a licensing system that sets forth that, to operate an online gambling and betting platform in Portugal, operators must be duly licensed, i.e., unlicensed platforms or platforms licensed under foreign jurisdictions should not be accessible or promoted to anyone located within the Portuguese territory.

Market Size
According to the latest report issued by the Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (the “Gaming Regulatory Body”), the gross revenues generated by online gambling and betting platforms in Portugal during the last quarter of 2022 were approximately EUR 159.1M, which shows a significant increase of around 39.3% over the same period in 2021.

Competitive Landscape
There are currently 15 licensed operators in Portugal, holding a total of 26 licences (the same operator may be the holder of several licenses according to the types of games: betting, bingo, casino-related games including poker).

Localisation
Among the various possibilities that were raised, the legislative option in Portugal was to circumscribe the Online Gambling Act scope of application to the national territory. Therefore, all operators with websites, accessible from Portugal, i.e, through a Portuguese IP address, who offer online gambling and betting shall hold the necessary licence.

With respect to infrastructure, operators are not obliged to have their core premises in Portugal, but, all the components of the gambling technical system must be located on premises to which the Gaming Regulatory Body may have access at any given time to guarantee access and the necessary permissions, from the premises of the Gaming Regulatory Body to any component of the gambling technical system, regardless of the location of the premises in question. Furthermore, operators must assure that the reporting front-end infrastructure is set up in the national territory and contains all the information about all the operations relating to the online gambling and betting activity.

Operators shall also store in the national territory data relating to the activity of online gambling and betting for a period of 10 years.

In relation to advertising, the Direção-Geral do Consumidor is the entity responsible for supervising publicity in Portugal, with the Publicity Code the main legal source in this field.

In general, all means of advertisement are admitted, as long as it:

  • Is conducted in a socially responsible manner, respecting the protection of minors, as well as of other vulnerable risk groups.
  • Highlights the entertainment aspect of gambling and betting.
  • Does not demean non-players.
  • Does not appeal to aspects relating to obtaining easy winnings.
  • Does not suggest success, social achievement or special skills as a result of gambling.
  • Does not encourage excessive gambling or betting practices.

The Gaming Regulatory Body has issued a handbook of good practices to advertise gaming products and services, which is intended to complement the Publicity Code. Among others, the handbook states that TV and radio advertising campaigns related to gambling should not take place between 7am and 10.30pm. In addition, and still with regard to advertising, some restrictions are established. The main prohibitions include:

  • Promotion of unlicensed online gambling platforms
  • Gambling advertising that is aimed at, or features, minors in the message
  • Gambling advertising within 250 metres in a straight line from schools or other buildings intended to be visited by minors
  • Gambling adverting in events intended for minors or events in which minors are taking part as main participants
  • Operators must not be associated with any advertising materials that make reference to concession of loans

Penalties for infringing advertising regulations vary from pecuniary sanctions to seizure of objects used in the commission of administrative offences, temporary bans, temporary closure of the premises or establishments where the advertising activity takes place, as well as the cancellation of licences or permits.

Top Key Attractions and Challenges

Attractions

  • The legal framework in place has been deemed adequate to safeguard the sector
  • The online gambling sector has seen numerous legal developments due to the increasing number of different forms of online gambling that have been brought to the market. In addition, the legal framework has been amended to cope with the technological developments of the online gambling industry
  • There are no specific requirements for passive investors in acquisitions or changes of control, other than those that would result from a transaction triggering competition rules
  • Large pool of expert staff and management
  • Emerging market relatively unexplored by major global players
  • Potentially facilitates entry point to other Portuguese speaking countries (Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde)

Challenges

  • Unattractive tax regime (e.g. sports betting)
  • The licensing system is quite bureaucratic and time-consuming
  • Relatively high market entry costs in a relatively small market
  • Unclear legislative framework for certain types of games (fantasy sports, e-sports, etc.) and use of cryptocurrencies
  • Constraints in the opening of bank accounts necessary for the development of the activity
  • Relatively high amount of guarantees legally required to start the business

Licensing & Regulation

Well-regulated / Unregulated (Open)

Portugal Online Gaming Licensing & Regulation

Relevant Legislation
The most relevant piece of legislation is the Online Gambling Act, which sets forth the legal framework applicable to online gambling and betting in Portugal. There are additional legal instruments – including regulations, instructions and guidance – that are applicable to online gambling and betting, including instruments that set forth the technical requirements to operate an online...

Unlock Your Free Trial

Sign up for your 7-day free trial and get access to regulatory intelligence today.

Enforcement

Irregular / Mixed impact

Portugal Online Gaming Enforcement

Regulating Bodies
The duty to control, monitor/supervise and regulate the operation and practice of gambling activities in Portugal is jointly carried out by:

The Portuguese gaming commission, which is the entity that coordinates and monitors the activity of Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (the Gaming Regulatory Body), having control, supervision and sanctioning powers The Gaming Regulatory Body...

Unlock Your Free Trial

Sign up for your 7-day free trial and get access to regulatory intelligence today.

Marketing

Permissive

Portugal Online Gaming Marketing

The Publicity Code (Decree-Law no. 330/90, of October 23) states that advertising of gambling and betting must:

Be conducted in a socially responsible manner Consider the protection of minors and other vulnerable risk groups Emphasise the entertainment nature of gambling and avoid demeaning non-players Refrain from appealing to aspects relating to obtaining easy winnings Refrain from suggesting success, social achievement...

Unlock Your Free Trial

Sign up for your 7-day free trial and get access to regulatory intelligence today.

Fees

High

Portugal Online Gaming Fees

Application Fees
Initial Homologation: before issuing the licence(s), the Gambling Regulatory Body will assess and homologate the operator’s gambling technical system. Such a homologation process is subject to payment of the following fees:

Initial homologation: EUR 18,000 (plus EUR 2,000 for the operation of each betting category, each type of game of chance and each new type of games...

Unlock Your Free Trial

Sign up for your 7-day free trial and get access to regulatory intelligence today.

Taxes

Average

Portugal Online Gaming Taxes

Licence Taxes
Online gambling is subject to a special online gambling tax (IEJO). There is a distinction between:

Games of chance and mutual betting on horse races. These are taxed at a fixed rate of 25% over the gross revenues of the operator Fixed-odds sports betting and fixed-odds horserace betting. These are taxed at a fixed rate of 8%...

Unlock Your Free Trial

Sign up for your 7-day free trial and get access to regulatory intelligence today.

Future Outlook

Positive

Portugal Online Gaming Future Outlook

The Online Gambling Act received constant and heavy criticism within the gambling community during its implementation procedure, with the special gambling tax as being the main subject of criticism.

Within this context, in 2020, the online gambling tax regime was amended and the general tax rate of 25% for games of chance was established. However, and despite the Portuguese State...

Unlock Your Free Trial

Sign up for your 7-day free trial and get access to regulatory intelligence today.

Unlock Your Free Trial

Sign up for your 7-day free trial and get access to regulatory intelligence today.

If you are subscribing to a free trial as a part of a Corporate Entity you are entitled to a further 2 free users for the 7 day free trial period. To activate this, we require the following information:
Company Address
Country of Incorporation

Legal Expert

Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados

Office locations Portugal (Lisbon, Porto, Funchal) / Angola (Luanda) / Mozambique (Maputo)

Morais Leitão has a gaming law practice that is in a unique position to advise gaming sector clients throughout the Portuguese-speaking world through leading offices in Portugal, Macau, Angola and Mozambique. Relevant Morais Leitão experience includes various matters related to European social gaming operators (public tenders, legal opinions, advertising, etc), adapting clients’ strategies to national and European regulations, corporate and compliance assistance to online betting operators, partnerships between media companies and gambling software development companies, licensing matters and agreements with leading companies in bingo technology, and development of online gambling platforms.

Contact this expert

Contact Portugal - Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.