The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) believes Portugal’s gambling tax policies are “discriminatory.” It is lobbying for the country’s government to make changes to the policies, arguing that the tax on online gambling has resulted in grater player channelization.
Currently, according to Portugal’s’ gambling laws established in 2015, online sports wagers are taxed anywhere from 8%-16% and online casino gaming gross gaming revenue (GGR) is taxed between 15%-30%. The EGBA believes a better option would be a flat tax calculated against the GGR.
In a statement from the past Monday, the group stated, “EGBA urges the authorities to apply equal taxes across all online gambling products—and based on gross gaming revenue (GGR). This will ensure the regulated Portuguese market becomes more attractive to players—because a sensible taxation level will lead to better priced betting odds—and pull into the regulated market more of the 75% of Portuguese players who are now playing on websites not regulated in Portugal.”
It adds, “The current online gambling law in Portugal rightly allows multiple online gambling operators to obtain a license and provide their services to Portuguese citizens who wish to place a bet online. In the online environment this is the best way to ensure that Portuguese players can play on licensed and regulated gambling websites—and that is why 25 EU member states have now adopted this model.”
Portugal has been reviewing its tax structure for the online gambling market. The country recently commissioned a working group to study the market and present observations regarding whether or not changes to the tax structure are needed. That review is still ongoing.
That study was promised to be implemented and delivered within two years following Portugal’s revision of gambling laws. That occurred in May 2016, but the working group was not commissioned until about a month ago.
The EGBA points out that the tax structure is the prime reason Portuguese gamblers are turning to offshore sites. According to a study published recently by the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa along with Qdata, 2018 saw an increase of 10% in the number of gamblers in the country opting for the unregulated market and as many as 75% of all gamblers in Portugal are now using non-licensed sites.