Portugal online gambling regime 60-day countdown to implementation

portugal-online-gambling-legislationPortugal‘s government has published the final details of the country’s new online gambling framework, paving the way for the new regime to kick in on June 29.

Portuguese legislators approved the legislation in February and this week saw the publication of the framework in the country’s Official Gazette.. The legislation would end local lottery firm Santa Casa de la Misericordia’s online monopoly and allow international firms to apply for Portuguese licenses.

The publication of the legislation’s final text starts the 60-day countdown before the new rules take effect. But Portuguese regulators have suggested that new licenses aren’t likely to be issued until Q3 at the earliest.

The county hopes the new regime will reap an annual €25m for the state but it remains to be seen how many operators will take Portugal’s bait. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has stated that the new tax rates – particularly the tax on sports betting turnover, not revenue – could cause up to 80% of new operators to exit the market within the first year of the new regime. PwC estimated that this wholesale exodus could cost the country €20m over the first three years.

On the plus side, Portugal’s poker players will have access to licensed operators’ international liquidity pools, unlike the ring-fenced situations in France and Italy that have depressed poker revenues in those markets. Players also won’t have to pay taxes on their online poker winnings, a perk that reportedly has many Spanish players considering relocating to Portugal in order to escape their own country’s much more punitive tax situation.