Portugal’s regulated online gambling market enjoyed record-high revenue in the final quarter of 2017, thanks to a surge in online sports betting.
Figures released Friday by the Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) regulatory body show the seven locally-licensed online gambling operators generated combined revenue of €36.5m in the three months ending December 31, 2017, nearly €10m higher than the same period last year and over €7m higher than Q3 2017.
For the year as a whole – the regulated market’s first full calendar year of operation since its May 2016 launch – total revenue hit €122.6m. The government’s share of this bounty was a hefty €54.3m, a 44.2% slice of the overall pie, thanks primarily to the market’s punitive 12% tax on sports betting turnover.
Despite the government’s grabby approach to sports wagering, the vertical generated revenue of €20.5m in Q4, 26% higher than the market generated in Q3 2017 and a new quarterly record.
Football accounted for over three-quarters of sports wagers, with tennis (12.4%) and basketball (8.5%) a distant second and third. Total sports revenue hit €68.1m in 2017, or 55.5% of the overall market.
The online casino vertical (which includes poker) generated €16m in Q4, another yearly high and 23% higher than Q3’s number. For the year as a whole, online casino revenue totaled €54.4m.
Slots accounted for 45% of 2017’s casino revenue, followed by poker cash games (19.7%), French roulette (19.2%), blackjack (9.2%) and poker tournaments (6.7%). Total poker revenue in 2017 amounted to €14.3m for the market’s lone online poker licensee, The Stars Group’s PokerStars.
Earlier this month, Portugal published its regulations for online poker liquidity sharing with France, Italy and Spain, the three other signatories to a cross-border pool agreement inked last summer. PokerStars has yet to indicate when its Portuguese players might gain access to the shared pool between its French- and Spanish-licensed sites that launched last month.
Portugal’s licensed online operators signed up over 132k new customers in Q4, roughly 50k more than in Q3, bringing the market’s total registered customer tally to 800k. Around 61% of these registrants are between the ages of 25 and 44, while those in the 18-24 bracket accounted for 27.8% of the total.
Roughly 17,600 (2.2%) of the total 800k registrants have opted to self-exclude from Portuguese gambling sites. The self-excluded figure rose by approximately 4,600 players in Q4.
Last month, the SRIJ announced that it was seeking input from its licensees into ways to improve its regulated online market. The move followed a scathing analysis by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), which noted that over two-thirds of Portugal’s online gamblers continue to wager with internationally licensed sites not holding an SRIJ permission slip.