The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has asked the Portuguese gambling regulators to restructure their gambling tax laws for online gambling and take adequate measures to improve the sorry state of the regulated online casino and gambling market in Portugal.
Declining online gambling revenues has become a growing concern for the Portuguese Government. Reports have been surfacing that over 75 percent of Portuguese gamblers have an account with foreign online casino and gambling operators which means a majority of the Portuguese players are wagering in unregulated markets. It means that the state is losing significant tax revenue and also the consumer’s protection is at stake.
According to EGBA, the gambling authority in Portugal should have the same tax regulations for all online gambling products depending upon the gross gaming revenue (GGR). EGBA says that by introducing a similar tax bracket, the Portuguese gambling authorities would be able to make more tax revenues by attracting more players.
The association raises concerns that over 75 of players going with overseas websites and often unregulated is catastrophic both for the Portugals’s tax revenues and the players as well.
Earlier in March Portugal had constituted a working committee to report on the gambling industry and examine if there is any need to make changes to the existing tax structure in principal.
Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) writes: “The current online gambling law in Portugal rightly allows multiple online gambling operators to obtain a license and provide their services to Portuguese citizens who wish to place a bet online. In the online environment, this is the best way to ensure that Portuguese players can play on licensed and regulated gambling websites – and that is why 25 EU member states have now adopted this model.
However, the current Portuguese tax regime for online gambling is discriminatory because it applies a more favorable tax for some operators, whilst others have to pay a much higher tax based on a broader tax base. As a result, applying for a Portuguese license is much less attractive for online gambling companies based elsewhere in the EU: for instance, only one EGBA member has a license in Portugal, while many more are very interested to obtain a license there if the tax regime becomes non-discriminatory and better suited to the online gambling environment.
If the tax rules do not change then Portuguese consumers will continue to find more competitive gambling products with websites which are not regulated and licensed in Portugal — which do not pay tax in Portugal and might expose Portuguese players to inadequate consumer protection safeguards.
That is why, we encourage the Portuguese authorities to tax all online gambling operators equally and on the basis of the so-called gross gaming revenue, as is done in almost every other EU country. This would encourage more companies to get a license for the Portuguese market and increase the share of existing Portuguese players who are playing within the regulated online gambling environment in Portugal.” –