Online casino driving Portugal’s gambling market growth


portugal-online-casino-gambling-growthPortugal’s regulated online gambling market reported significant Q3 revenue growth thanks to the tail end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament and a surging online casino vertical.

Official figures released this week by the Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) regulatory body show the country’s eight online licensees generated combined revenue of €38.5m in the three months ending September 30, €9.2m higher than the same period last year and a new market high.

Lest anyone get too excited, the government’s share of this bounty came to €17m, thanks in part to its refusal to amend the onerous tax regime that claims up to 16% of sports betting revenue as its own.

The SRIJ’s six online sports betting operators generated revenue of €19.4m in Q3, a €3.1m year-on-year improvement but below the €20.5m the market reported in Q2. The previous quarter enjoyed the bulk of the World Cup action as well as the fact that Portugal’s national team had yet to be eliminated in the round of 16.

Online sports betting turnover hit just under €90m in Q3, up €13.3m year-on-year but flat from Q2 and down from €101.3m in Q1. Football accounted for 78.5% of Q3 betting stakes, while tennis claimed most of the rest (16.8%). Portuguese football’s first division claimed a slightly higher share (7.3%) of stakes than did the World Cup (7.2%).

The online casino vertical – into which the SRIJ bundles its lone online poker operator (PokerStars) – reported revenue of €19.1m, a significant rise from the €13.1m reported in Q3 2017 and the €16.8m from Q2 2018. Online casino spending hit €552.6m, up from just €347.5m in the same period last year.

Slots accounted for majority (59.6%) of online casino revenue, followed by roulette (16.2%), poker cash games (11.6%), blackjack (7.4%) and tournament poker (5.1%). The combined poker share (16.7%) would have slightly edged out roulette for the number-two spot but this is well below Q2’s 20.4% share.

Portugal’s market enjoyed these gains despite only a modest rise in new account registrations, which were up only about 1k year-on-year to 83.4k.

The SRIJ’s land-based gaming market reported Q3 revenue of €87.5m, up 13.6% year-on-year. Gaming machines accounted for 82.5% of this haul, a 1.9-point rise over Q3 2017.