On Wednesday, UK-listed online betting exchange Betfair informed its Portuguese players that it was withdrawing from the market effective Thursday (16).
Players will have until July 31 to withdraw their account balances and existing wagers scheduled to be resolved before that date will be honored, but all other bets will be voided. Betfair also confirmed that it would seek a new Portuguese license and hoped to return to the market as soon as regulators gave their okay.
Betfair’s exit follows similar moves this month by William Hill and Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars and Full Tilt brands. The Amaya brands have confirmed that they are seeking new Portuguese licenses while Hills said it was “confident” that it would have the opportunity to “work together in the future” with its Portuguese affiliates.
Last week, UK-listed operator 888 Holdings informed its affiliates that it would no longer offer services to Portuguese players effective July 9. 888 instructed affiliates to “discontinue targeting and cease all marketing activities towards players in Portugal with immediate effect.” 888 said it had made its decision based on “recent regulation changes” in the country but declined to specify whether it had any plans to return to the market under a new Portuguese license.
Portugal’s new online gambling regime has been criticized for its tax-heavy approach. Online poker operator PKR recently exited Portugal based on its belief that the market was “no longer viable.” Portugal’s new regime calls for online poker and casino revenue to be taxed from 15% to 30% depending on the size of an individual site’s business while sports betting operators are facing a tax on turnover ranging from 8% on the first €30m and rising to 16% at the top end.