Portugal has issued its eight online gambling license, even as locally licensed operators struggle to find new customers.
On Tuesday, gambling regulator Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) awarded Estoril Sol Digital Online Gaming and Products Services, SA, a license to offer sports betting on its website estorilsolcasinos.pt.
This is the second license for Estoril Sol, which obtained Portugal’s first online casino license under the government’s new regulated online gambling market last year. The company, chaired by SJM Holdings’ founder Stanley Ho, operates three land-based casinos in Portugal: Casino Estoril, Casino Lisbon and Casino da Povoa.
Estoril said it will use its Belgian platform Gaming1 to offer a range of sportsbetting products at its newly rebranded Esconline.pt site. The sportsbook includes a Gaming1-developed feature, called Opti-Odds, which promises to boost the odds of any multi-bet slips.
The Opti-Odds feature is designed to mitigate the effect of high taxation within the Portuguese market, which results in operators offering lower odds compared to other regions, according to Gaming1.
The Estoril Sol license represents the eighth that SRIJ issued since the Portuguese government launched its regulated online gambling market in May 2016. The new license brings Portugal’s total number of online sports betting sites to four—joining Sociedade Figueira Praia, Betclic Everest Group and Bet Entertainment Technologies. The SRIJ has also issued three casino licenses—one of which went to Estoril Sol—and one poker license.
The news of a new license, however, came in the heels of reports that Portugal’s regulated online gambling market suffered its first decline since its launch. According to SRIJ report, the market’s seven online licensees reported revenue of €25.4 million in the second quarter of 2017—the first sequential revenue decline since the market launched in June 2016. It’s also the second-lowest quarterly total since Q3 2016’s €24.1 million, and well below the €31.4 million the market generated in Q1 2017. To date, the market has generated total revenue of €108.1 million.
New online customer registrations slowed dramatically in Q2, with just over 64,000 new accounts registered, which is barely half the 112,000 new accounts registered in Q1, while H2 2016 saw over 411,000 registrations. June marked the low ebb of registrations, with just 9,600 new signups compared to 40,600 in April.