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What Is Portugal’s Stance On Online Gambling?

What Is Portugal’s Stance On Online Gambling?

by Damien Troy

Over recent years, the world of online gambling and all of its markets have been pulling in revenue for countries across the globe, but despite the capital potential, not every country is quite as open to the industry. From regulation and government control, to a flat out ban in some cases, keeping up with the differing laws and legislation can be difficult. From online casino games and sports betting, to how the country sees bonuses such as a Free Spin No Deposit bonus, here’s what you need to know about Portugal’s stance on online gaming.

What Counts As Gambling?

When determining what counts as gambling in Portugal, we’re thankfully given a pretty black and white definition. Often referred to as ‘games of chance’, gambling is defined as ‘games whose result is exclusively or fundamentally contingent on luck’. In terms of land based and online casino games, these are defined as:

  • Land-Based Gambling: “gambling or betting carried out in casinos, bingo halls or other places previously authorised for such purpose which require the physical presence of a player”
  • Online Gambling: The operation and practice of games of chance, fixed-odds sports bets and horse race betting, totalisator betting and fixed-odds betting when carried out remotely, through electronic, computer, telematics and interactive media, or by any other means.

Land-Based Gambling

To understand the stance on online gambling in Portugal, knowing the current thoughts towards land-based gambling can help to paint a clearer and much more defined picture. In terms of gambling in Portugal, it is by no means illegal, provided that the relevant licences are held and that certain rules are adhered to. These include a minimum age of entrance being 18, a limitation for any casino staff for participation, limits on the betting amounts dependant on the game being played, bans for any persons condemned legally for fraudulent activity etc and limitations or prohibition for any persons that:

  • Are members of sovereign bodies (judges, parliament, government)
  • Are public prosecutors
  • Are members of the police force

Casinos and bingo halls must apply for a licence in order to operate and this is applied for using a public tender procedure. These licences can last up to 20 years in some cases and will often require a percentage of their revenue as a contribution to the state dependant on the gross amount they bring in per year.

There are no specific laws currently about any bonuses or free gifts which casinos can provide their players with, both in land-based and online gambling institutions. Instead, land-based casinos must:

  • Raise awareness of gambling addiction through the use of activities and events
  • Foster and maintain social responsibility
  • Draft codes of conduct and good practices, which could include the practice of providing bonuses and free gifts, alongside any wagering requirements needed to cash these in

Online Gambling

Online gambling operates in a similar way in terms of general rules and prohibitions, but also have a fair few more to consider. These include:

  • Members of government bodies of autonomous regions
  • Minors and persons declared unfit by law
  • Members of the company running the online gambling site or who have access to their system
  • Any members of competitions associated with sports events such as; sports managers, trainers, sportspeople, judges, sports entrepreneurs, referees, technical sports personnel, anyone in charge of organising the competition.

Licences for online gambling are also a little more complicated than their land-based counterparts, with licences available for fixed-odds sport betting, mutual and fixed-odds horserace betting, games of chance and bingo. These often come with a one-off cost when it comes to application, and then further costs if the decision is approved for the online gambling special tax, and for any legal obligations.

The regulation surrounding online gambling is undeniably more complicated than that of land-based gambling, but when considering the sheer scope of the industry, it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re looking to try your hand at gambling or you simply want to know more about the legislation, hopefully this guide has given you a good place to start.