A Portuguese land-based casino operator has been issued the country’s ninth online gambling license, but the country’s gaming regulator is increasingly preaching to its limited choir of operators.
On Monday, the Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) regulatory body announced that it had issued online license #009 to Sociedade Figueira Praia, which plans to operate online casino games under its Casino Portugal brand at Casinoportugal.pt. The company received its Portuguese online sports betting license in June.
Jorge Armindo Teixeira, chairman of Sociedade Figueira Praia’s parent company Amorim Turismo, said the expansion into online casino gambling was intended to “consolidate the growth achieved in the first months of exploitation of sports betting.” The site has enlisted gaming providers iSoftBet and NetEnt to help fill out its online casino game portfolio.
Of the nine online licenses SRIJ has issued to date, eight are shared between four companies – the other three being Betclic Everest Group, BET Entertainment Technologies and Estoril Sol – each of which operate both sports betting and casino sites, while PokerStars holds the country’s only official online poker license.
Portugal’s regulated online market only launched in June 2016 but the SRIJ reported that the market suffered its first sequential quarterly revenue decline in the three months ending June 30, 2017. While PokerStars has enjoyed its poker monopoly, the steep tax burden has non-poker operators like Betclic reconsidering their Portuguese market presence.
Things are slightly rosier on the land-based front, where Portugal’s casino operators reported revenue of €75.2m in the three months ending June 30, up 6.7% from the same period last year. Electronic gaming machine revenue improved 5.7% to €61.6m, house-banked games were up 11.7% to €12.5m, and non-banked games (poker and bingo) gained 8.1% to slightly less than €1.1m.
Roulette was the most popular table game, accounting for over €4.6m, with punto banco baccarat in second place with €3.1m, although the baccarat number experienced significantly higher year-on-year growth (+26%) compared to roulette (+8.9%).