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Portugal Is Considering a Change in Its Gambling Tax Policy

- March 21, 2019 By Riley Wilson -

Portugal is considering a change in its gambling tax policy.

A total of 16 online gaming licences have been issued since 2016.

The current gambling tax regime in Portugal will finally be reviewed after the government formed a working group to analyze the country’s online gambling industry.

Portugal’s existing gambling law went into effect in 2015, but it took more than a year before the reorganization of the market actually started.

Finding the Best Solution

The first license to a foreign-based operator was issued by the country’s gambling watchdog Serviço de Regulação Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ) in May 2016, marking the beginning of a new era for gambling in Portugal. In nearly three years, SRIJ has issued a total of 16 licenses.

According to available information, the government’s working group will consist of 6 members. The group will have one month to analyze the country’s existing tax policy and present proposal for potential changes in this area.

And while the reorganization of the market was seen as a positive move by the EU officials and the industry as well, the high tax rates were often criticized, as experts believed they were holding down the further development of the gambling market in Portugal.

Taxes Are Too High

Under the provisions of the Portuguese law, online sports betting is taxed at 8-16% on turnover, while operators offering online casino games and poker are required to pay a 15-30% tax on their yearly revenues.

The government has finally decided to respond to the complaints, and at this moment it looks like the current taxes could be adjusted. According to estimates made by Eurogroup Consulting, more than 75% of all bets is made on the black market. This clearly shows there are problems on the regulated market, and that something needs to be done as soon as possible.

The first proposals for amending the current law were introduced last year, and some even suggested that a flat tax rate of 25% on revenue should be enforced.

The Special Online Gambling Tax was supposed to be included in the final version of the country’s budget plan, but it didn’t. It remains to be seen whether this issue will be resolved before the legislative elections, which are scheduled to take place in October.

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