The online gambling market in Portugal is picking up despite the government being lax in introducing stricter measures to keep overseas online gambling operators from operating illegally in the regulated market.
According to the figures released by the country’s gambling regulator Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ), the state’s iGaming operations brought in €54.1m (£45.2m/$60.3m) in revenue for the third quarter, making it the seventh consecutive quarter of increased revenue.
The Q3 figures represent a 39.1 percent increase when compared with the revenue generated for the same period the previous year. The Q3 revenue was also up €5.8 million from what the online market took in the second quarter. For Q2, the Portuguese online gambling and betting market reported total revenue of €48.3 million.
Currently, there are 11 gambling operators holding 18 online gaming licenses in Portugal.
The state’s gambling regulator also grossed €23.6 million in tax revenue from online gambling operations. During the same period the previous year, the tax contribution from the online gambling sector was just €6.4 million.
Online casinos contributed €28.2 million to the overall revenue, up €8.8 million from what it grossed during the third quarter of 2018.
The sports betting segment also saw a healthy rise. Overall sports betting revenue generated by online sportsbooks in Portugal was reported €25.9 million. For the previous quarter in 2019, the sports betting operations generated €23 million in revenue.
Online sportsbooks in Portugal reported a total Q3 betting handle of €114 million. The majority of the bets – over 75 percent – were placed on football.
The total betting handle in Q3 was up €1.9 million when compared with the previous quarter.
The increase in online gambling and betting revenue has been attributed to an increase in the number of registered online gamblers. There were a total of about 149,000 registered gamblers in the third quarter. The number of registered gamblers in the second quarter was 102,200 and in the first quarter, it was only 125,200.
Illegal Gambling Operators Cut In Online Gambling Revenues
Portugal’s online gambling market is pervious and a significant amount of revenue is drained by illegal foreign-based gambling operators.
Earlier in the year, a report by the Portuguese Association of Online Gambling and Gambling (APAJO) found that about 56% of gamblers in the country continue to bet with both licensed and unlicensed operators. These figures are alarming since it has already been three years Portugal regulated online gambling and betting.
What was more shocking was that about 6 percent of gamblers bet only through illegal gambling websites – clearly demonstrating that they lack confidence in licensed operators.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has also asked the Portuguese government to take steps to ensure that more gamblers remain with licensed operators. The Association urged the government to revise its tax policies concerning online gambling following reports that over 75 percent of gamblers in the country have accounts with overseas gambling websites.
The EGBA has been demanding that all online gambling products in the country be brought under the same tax bracket. It said that by doing so the government would be able to generate more tax revenues and also it would provide customers with better standards of protection.