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Portugal Comes Step Closer To Online Gambling Liberalisation
- June 15, 2015 By Oliver Young -
Portugal has been one of the European countries that have been waiting for a long time for liberalisation of their online gambling market. Good news to online players from the country is that the end of the waiting seems close as Portugal gets ready for regulated and licensed online gambling activity to start on 28th of June, 2015.
According to Adolfo Mesquita Nunes, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism, the country is preparing everything so that on 28th of June the technical control is up and running. He revealed that the country won’t limit the number of licences and that Portugal wants to sign up as many operators as possible. The ones that seem the most attractive to the country are well established international operators.
Mesquita Nunes is known for constantly informing the public on the recent events in the gambling industry in Portugal. In April, 2015, he was the one to reveal on LinkedIn that after years of discussion Portugal will finally get a liberal and open online gambling model.
If the Secretary is to be believed, then Portugal definitely won’t impose limits to the number of licences available. He also pointed out that the first licences will be issued very shortly after the official launch date and hence Portugal can expect some regulated online casinos to hit its market fairly soon.
Tax Rate Will Probably Stay the Same
The latest news about the preparations does not include any details about possible changes of the tax rate. Therefore, it can be concluded that the government won’t reconsider the proposed tax rates for future licensees even though they have been constantly criticised by the Remote Gaming Association.
Companies are set to pay a tax rate between 8% and 16% of sports betting turnover, whereas casino and games revenues will be taxed with 15-30%. Peer to peer betting like betting exchanges and cash poker will have a tax rate of 15% on the total revenue.
It comes as no surprise that the country shows no intentions to cut the taxes since it is hoping to get approximately 25 million Euros through its latest regulatory and licensing initiative. Portugal has been facing some serious problems when it comes to its economy and the liberalisation of online gambling is seen as one of the possible ways of getting back on its feet.
Land Gaming Industry Is Far From Happy
Even though this news has made thousands of people excited, it seems that land gaming industry is far from happy. According to sources, the land based industry in Portugal sees online gambling as competition and is constantly protesting that the taxes for iGaming are lower than those imposed on brick and mortar casinos.
One group to state its opinion is Estoril Sol’s parent group Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau. Representatives of the group have said that online gambling should’ve been restricted to existing land casino licensees. Plus, they pointed out that their Povoa de Varzim casino pays 65% taxes, whereas Casino Estoril and Casino Lisboa pay up to 50% taxes.