A Brief Overview of Online Casino Regulations in Portugal

How can you be sure that winning online casinos is possible? Whether you want to play at or operate an online casino site, and even if the online gambling community in Portugal looks promising, it’s still vital to know the online casino regulations first. 

The Portuguese online gambling arena was once thought of as an impractical marketplace. However, because of its fiscal policy changes in 2020 that eliminated progressive tax rates for gaming and betting, many operators are contemplating coming back to the country. 

Victoria Oliveira, an online casino expert, put together a brief overview of Portugal ‘s online casino regulations. She says: “Casinos online autorizados em Portugal devem ter uma licença válida e só podem oferecer caça-níqueis, roleta, bacará, pôquer e blackjack.”

Online Gambling Legal Regime

The Online Gambling and Betting Legal Regime (OLR) legalised online gambling. The governmental casino regulators passed Decree-Law No. 66/2015, defining online gambling operation regulations. 

The fundamental principles in the approval of the OLR are:

●        Protect minors and vulnerable people by preventing unregulated gambling and addictive practices.

●        Ensure security and prevent fraud and money laundering.

●        Prevent illegal practices and behaviours in online gambling.

●        Ensure the integrity of sports betting events to avoid the manipulation of results. 

The OLR requires the compulsory acquisition of licences before an operation, and defines the duties and responsibilities of operators, and crimes or offences related to an illegal operation. 

Serviço De Regulação E Inspeção De Jogos (SRIJ) is the Portuguese Gambling regulatory Authority that regulates legal casino. 

The decree law requires operators to meet all the OLR requirements before applying for a licence.

Licence Application

To get a licence to operate, the operator must submit a licence request using a standard form from the SRIJ. The applicant must comply with the following: 

●        A regular tax status in Portugal or the State where the Casino is headquartered.

●        Show integrity and economic, technical, and financial capacity.

●        Have a structuring plan that presents the applicant’s gambling technical systems. It must also provide best practices for software architecture that comply with legal requirements. 

Licence validity is three years from the date of issuance. The operators can request extensions for consecutive three-year periods. 

For operators to extend their licence, they must maintain mandatory requirements such as:

●        All fees should be paid.

●        There should be no outstanding obligation or fine.

●        Tax affairs, social security, and security deposits should be in order.

●        They should have a good standing, with economic, technical, and financial capacity.

●        There should be no shortcomings in their operations. 

If operators fail to comply with their legal obligations or their finances can no longer handle their operations, their gambling licence can be terminated or suspended. The decision of the SRIJ depends on the severity of their violation.

Tax and Mandatory Levies

The online gambling tax in Portugal was amended in March 2020. The amendment’s major highlight is the removal of the progressive tax rate. 

Online gambling is subject to the special tax on gambling (IEJO). The tax varies based on the various types of games:

●        In games of chance such as online casino, poker, bingo, and pari-mutuel horse-racing bets – The tax depends on the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) of the operator or fees charged by the operator to their players. The IEJO rate is 25%.

●        In fixed-odds sports betting – The IEJO rate is 8% from the amount of bet placed (turnover).

●        In games of chance where gamblers play with each other – When the fees charged to gamblers are the only earnings derived directly from the bets, the IEJO imposes a rate of 35%.

Gambling Regulations for Players

While online casino operators must have a valid gambling licence and comply with the OLR regulations, players are also required to play in legal casinos. 

Aside from playing on legitimate online casino sites with a valid gambling licence, players must also be at least 18 years old. So, before gamblers can play on gambling websites, their identities must be verified. 

Also, gamblers should understand that their income from gambling is taxable, and they should report their income from online casinos. They must not commit illegal practices like money laundering. 

Only electronic payments should be used to allow traceability of transactions. Virtual currencies are not allowed. Operators can only accept payment from authorised payment service providers to fund a gambler’s account.

Limitations on Providing Services to Gamblers

The law does not anticipate limits on rollovers or progressive jackpots. However, operators are obliged to establish boundaries to comply with responsible gambling regulations. 

Advertisements are not prohibited by law as long as operators don’t target minors or feature them in their advertisements. Ads must also not humiliate non-players or encourage excessive gambling practices.

Conclusion

Online casinos and other online gambling activities are legal in Portugal. Although the country has a high gambling tax rate, the amendment on decree-law to remove the progressive tax rate in 2020 opened the floodgates for online gambling to flourish. Since operators need to have a valid licence, gamblers must also play on authorised online casino sites. 

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