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Portugal Finally Opens up to Foreign Gambling Operators

- March 3, 2015 By Nemanja L. -

Portugal approves new online gaming law

Portugal to start granting licenses to online gaming operators.

Portugal has edged closer to regulating the online gaming market as the Council of Ministers gave the new legislation the all clear, with president Anibal Cavaco Silva set to sign the bill into law.

The government has been debating over the new legal framework for several months and they finally reached an agreement that should see the industry open up to new operators by the end of the year.

State Monopoly set to End

Up until now, Santa Casa de la Misericordia has been the only gaming operator in the country, with Portugal thus effectively breaking EU’s freedom of trade rule.

The Legal Framework for Games and Online Gambling (RJO) will allow foreign operators to apply for a gaming license, although the costs of running these kinds of businesses could go through the roof.

High Taxes on Online Gaming Earnings

The interesting thing is that different tax rates will apply to certain types of online gambling, with sports betting operators subject to 8-16% tax rate and online casinos and poker websites obliged to pay 15-30% tax on their earnings.

Casino and poker establishments will pay 15% tax in case their yearly earnings do not exceed €5 million, while every €1 million increase in earnings will result in additional 3%.

Major gaming operators looking to enter the Portugal market are unlikely to be out off by the relatively high taxes, as they would, nonetheless, be able to turn a nice profit once the new market starts to develop.

While the main goal of the new legislation is to increase the revenues of the debt-ridden country, RJO is also meant to prevent money laundering and match fixing as well as protect minors from developing gambling problems.

Turismo de Portugal, a special branch of the Ministry of Finance, has been tasked with overseeing the new legal framework and ensuring the operators comply to all the rules and regulations.

Portugal expect to earn around €25 million per year once the new law has been put into place, with operators required to apply for gaming licenses, which will be valid for three years and are renewable.

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