Publication date: 09 Jan 2024
New information added on 9 January 2024.
Portugal’s gambling market set a new record in the third quarter of 2023, with online gambling revenue totalling €133.4 million. This represents an increase of 50.5% when compared to the same period last year.
The online sector brought in 62% of all online gambling revenues for the quarter. Site visitors spent €3.65bn on betting, which was another new record for Portugal. Slot machines accounted for 82.3% of total spending, French Roulette for 6.4% and blackjack for 6.2%.
Sports betting revenue in the third quarter reached €81.9 million and this was up 17.7% on the previous year. Player spending on online sports betting rose 12.1% year-on-year to €390.5 million. Of this amount, 71.4% of bets were placed on football, 22.2% on tennis and 6.4% on other sports.
Read more about how Portugal’s gambling market operates next.
Portugal is a country with a long experience in regulating gambling. Many years ago, the country’s authorities came to understand the futility of banning betting companies and casinos, and since 2015 have allowed online gambling establishments to operate successfully and earn money. In this new 3SNET review, we will take a look at how to promote online betting and gambling in Portugal.
How is online betting and gambling regulated in Portugal?
In 2015, the Portuguese Government approved Decree-Law No. 66/2015 of 29 April on the Legal Regime for Online Gambling and Betting (Regime Jurídico dos Jogos / RJO). The adopted document allows the organization of all games of chance (baccarat, blackjack, bingo, poker and roulette), sports betting and betting on equestrian sports online in Portugal.
A quote from the law that makes clear the state’s attitude towards gambling:
Gambling is an undeniable reality against which no amount of repression can help. Prohibition can potentially cause individual, family and social harm. It must be recognised that even after prohibition, gambling will not cease to exist. The conditions under which such activities could flourish must be established, and thus all participants must be protected.
While acknowledging the ineffectiveness of repression, the regulation created aimed to define the conditions in which gambling and the development of this environment could take place.
A paradigm shift was also evident which determined the state’s actions: abandoning criminal repression and modulating behaviour through a tax instrument.
Other European countries that have legalised online betting and gambling:
- Belgium received the biggest online casino winning ever!
- In Sweden, all types of gambling and betting are allowed as well as their advertising.
In Portugal, there is a careful approach to regulating gambling! Apart from the main law, there are government regulations with rules for all permitted games: all types of poker, American roulette, blackjack, bingo, slots.
The documents also prescribe absolutely all moments of online gambling organization: from registration procedure and player’s account to withdrawal of money from the account. There are special instructions not only about the rules of sports betting with odds, but also about the coverage of events in sports betting.
The types of events on which bets can be accepted, the type of bet (single and/or multiple), the time of the bet (advance or real time) and the type of result (depending on the sport) are legally approved for sports betting.
Portugal’s gambling regulator is the Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service (Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos / SRIJ).
The main requirement for obtaining a Portuguese gaming license is to be technically and economically capable of operating the establishment in accordance to all laws and regulations. The licence fee covers the cost of inspecting and connecting the technical system, with fees ranging from €2,000 to €18,000 for various stages and types of games.
The license is issued for three years, then it can be extended (each time for 3 years) at the request of the operator.
There is a special online gaming tax (IEJO): from 8 to 16% of all bets are paid by betting companies, from 15 to 30% of gross revenue by online casinos.
What kind of gambling is allowed in Portugal?
The regulator’s website not only contains a section listing all licensed bookmakers and casinos in Portugal, but also includes a separate section for responsible gaming and player protection, “Where to gamble?” with logos and links to legal sites.
As of March 2023, there are 15 operators on the list, with most companies holding both gambling and betting licences.
Portuguese gambling licenses are held by well-known global brands such as Bwin, Pokerstars, Betano, 888 and Betway.
How are gambling and betting sites blocked in Portugal?
The regulator’s website states it simply: all sites which are not on the list of allowed online betting and casino sites in Portugal are banned.
All organizers without a license with online gambling sites accessible from Portugal are acting illegally and can be imprisoned for up to 5 years.
The SRIJ is responsible for blocking illegal gambling sites in Portugal. If a gambling website without a legal license is detected during the monitoring process, the regulator requests the organizers to cease their operations in the country and remove the website.
In cases of non-compliance with the regulator’s requirements, the SRIJ instructs Internet service providers to block access to the illegal website.
Portuguese residents can also report an illegal gambling website by emailing [email protected].
According to SRIJ data for the fourth of 2022 (information provided in March, 22 2023!!!), 1,094 notifications to illegal online gambling operators to stop activity have been sent since the beginning of the online gambling and betting regulation in Portugal (i.e. since June 2015). In addition, 1,369 sites have been blocked by ISPs at the request of SRIJ.
Since it was in the fourth quarter of 2022, that 54 sites were suspended along with 74 sites blocked. Therefore, it can be concluded that the blocking is taking place in a systematic and intensive manner.
How much money is made from gambling in Portugal?
New! In the first 3 months of 2023, gambling revenues in Portugal have increased by 25%. According to the Gambling Inspection and Regulation Service, the gross revenue (GGR) from online casino and sports betting was 196 million euros. Moreover, betting accounted for 85.7 million euros. Football is the most popular sport for betting (70.6%) followed by basketball and tennis (together 25% of total bets).
Portugal’s online gambling revenue for the IV quarter of 2022 was €195.3 million. As SRIJ specifies, this is the highest revenue* in the history of the industry’s monitoring.
- Compared to the III quarter of 2022, when revenue of €159.1m was recorded, the increase was 22.7%, up €36.2m.
- Compared to the IV quarter of 2021 (i.e. for the calendar year), revenue increased by 39.7%.
The €109.8 million in revenue generated between 1 October and 30 December 2022 was earned by online casinos. This is 23,8% more than for the III quarter of 2022. According to the regulator’s report, Portugal’s online gambling revenue reaches a new record high for the sixth consecutive quarter!!!
Sports betting for the IV quarter of 2022 accounted for €2.98 billion, which was also a record (+42,1%).
*The previous record for online gambling revenue in Portugal was recently set in the III quarter of 2022 at €159.1 million.
How to promote betting and gambling in Portugal properly
The Portuguese Gambling Commission also monitors compliance with regulations regarding advertising of games and betting.
Information on how gambling and betting can be advertised is contained in Decree-Law No. 330/90 and the Advertising Code (revision of 9 March 2021).
The laws have a single rule which states that gambling advertising in no form may be targeted at minors.
Also on 24 April 2020, the Guidelines on Best Practices in Advertising for Gambling and Betting were approved.
The Guidelines clarify that gambling advertising may not:
- display, adopt or encourage gaming behaviour which is socially irresponsible and likely to cause financial, social or emotional loss to the recipients;
- misrepresent facts or contain statements which are untrue;
- tolerate or encourage crime or behaviour which violates public order;
- suggest that gambling may develop personal qualities, self-esteem and special abilities or allow public recognition;
- assume that gambling can help overcome negative feelings, depression;
- suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial problems and an alternative to work.
It is also forbidden in advertisements for casinos and betting shops in Portugal:
- create an inadequate sense of urgency by resorting to expressions such as “Bet now!”
In June 2016, Google Ads rules regarding casino and gambling advertising changed: online gambling-related content is now allowed to be promoted in Portugal.
How to attract Portuguese residents to casino and betting sites?
The Portuguese Republic is located in Southern Europe. It has a population of more than 10 million people. The largest cities are the Capital City of Lisbon, Porto, Algarve, Horta.
The official language is Portuguese; it is spoken by about 200 million people around the world besides the Portuguese. Since 1999, the Mirandese language was made official, although it is spoken by only around 15,000 people.
English, Spanish and French are very popular and almost the entire population speaks several languages to varying degrees.
The main currency is the euro.
Internet access is widely available in Portugal and there are three main carriers which are MEO, Vodafone and NOS. The average cost of internet is $32 per month.
In the third quarter of 2022, the total number of users of gambling operators’ websites in Portugal reached a record high of 771,300. This is an increase of 18.4% compared to the previous year. Among them:
- 36.1% placed bets on sports only,
- 29.4% played exclusively online casino games,
- 34.6% bet on both.
Which casino games do the Portuguese choose?
According to SRIJ data for the 3rd quarter of 2022:
- 80% of bets were made on online slots;
- 7.6% choose French roulette;
- 4.9% play blackjack;
- 3.9% play different types of poker;
- 3.6% play Banca francesa, a dice game.
Which sports are popular in Portugal?
- Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service of Portugal has provided statistics on the sports on which the Portuguese people bet. Football (78% of all bets) and tennis (17.1%) dominated in the 3rd quarter of 2022. Other sports accounted for 4.9%.
- In terms of betting on football: Primeira Liga (11%), the UEFA Champions League (10.5%), Premier League (6.2%), La Liga (5%), Serie A (4.5%) and Brasileirão (4.4%) are popular. The most famous football clubs in Portugal are Porto, Benfica and Sporting.
- A native of Portugal, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is incredibly famous in his homeland, with a museum and bronze statue in his hometown of Funchal, astronomers from the University of Lisbon named a galaxy after him, and Madeira International Airport was renamed in his honor in 2016.
- In terms of tennis betting, the US Open (16.3%) and Wimbledon (8.2%) attracted the greatest attention from the Portuguese.
- Lisbon and its surroundings are a hub for water sports. It has world-famous regatta routes, a well-developed infrastructure and plenty of sports schools. It makes sense that the inhabitants of this region are fans of the sport. Yachting is popular in Portugal’s northern region whilst surfing is prevalent in the central region.
What payment methods are available in Portugal?
Banking services in Portugal are provided by the 5 biggest banks: Caixa Geral de Depositos, Millennium BCP, Santander Totta, BPI, Montepio. In addition to debit and credit cards, a bank account allows payments through the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) system.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted.
There is also a high demand for the Multibanco interbank network: 27 banks and around 13,000 ATMs. Customers can use the online payment service from Multibanco: MB Net.
Other popular payment methods in Portugal include PayPal, Skrill and Neosurf.
Cryptocurrencies are in free circulation in Portugal and can be used to buy and sell any goods and services. However, the Central Bank doesn’t regulate or protect crypto transactions in any way, it only controls the possibility of money laundering. This makes e-money very popular as a payment instrument, including for making deposits on casino and bookmaker websites.
Creatives for Portugal: cultural peculiarities
- There’s a national phenomenon in Portuguese culture: the pleasure of longing. Portugal used to be a maritime power, and when sailors went to sea for a long time, their relatives expressed their longing in creativity. It’s not a way of life entirely, as lagom in Sweden, but a distinctive feature of the culture. Even a particular style of music – fado – has emerged. Fado songs are special lyrical songs in which the author indulges in the pleasure of longing. For this reason, instead of the stereotypical cheerful and rhythmic music (more suited to appeal to Spaniards), it’s better to use soft and melancholic music in creatives.
- Portugal is a country of celebrations. Besides international holidays (New Year’s Day, Labour Day), locals celebrate Shrove Tuesday (February/March), Freedom Day on 25 April (anniversary of the 1974 revolution), Portugal Day on 10 June, Republic Day on 5 October and Independence Day on 1 December (the anniversary of the 1640 proclamation of independence from Spain).
- There are plenty of festivals and carnivals to celebrate, including Umbrella Day (all July), the Medieval Festival and even a festival of psychedelic music. Traditionally, the Portuguese are in high spirits during these days and are willing to spend more time gambling.
- What’s the usual image of a sports fan? With a beer in hand! Well, Portugal has its own alcohol which is also a national trait. As well as certified wines, there are internationally renowned Port and Madeira. Ginjinha, a cherry liqueur, is also popular in some regions of Portugal and is served in Portuguese bars.
- How about a car as a prize? Remember that electric and hybrid cars are quite popular in Portugal and electric cars are in particular demand. In fact, the most sought after model is the convertible. Look for eco-friendly models as well as convertible models available from almost all manufacturers.
- Use the image of the Portuguese Riviera like Cascais and Estoril. This is where the most expensive villas and restaurants as well as the most beautiful land-based casinos are located.
What are the popular sources of traffic in Portugal?
According to the SimilarWeb service for February 2023 in Portugal:
- Google.com, Google.pt and Duckduckgo.com are the most searched engines.
- SAPO.pt is also in the top 5. Facebook* and Instagram*, Twitter, Whatsapp and Linkedin are in the top 5 popular social networks.
- Chrome tops the list of browsers, followed by Safari, Edge and Firefox.
*Facebook and Instagram belong to the extremist Meta and are blocked in Russia by court order.
Portugal has taken the most careful attitude to gambling regulation: every moment of gambling establishment organization has its own rule, instruction and regulations. And that yields results: online betting and gambling revenues are setting records after records! The 3SNET network provides a list of offers where quality traffic for online casinos and betting shops in Portugal is expected. It’s time to connect and make money!
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