Is Online Gambling Legal in Portugal?
Are you wondering is online gambling legal in Portugal? Indeed, figuring out which online gambling sites are legal in which countries can be a tricky mess. We’re here to clear the air a bit regarding the online gambling websites servicing players from Portugal and the legality behind their operations.
Portugal Gambling Law
All forms of gambling are legal in Portugal. Sports betting and lottery gambling games are ran by the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (SCML), a private company that enjoys a government-aided monopoly on gambling in Portugal.
SCML runs two sports betting games in the country, Loto2 and Totoloto. These sports-betting markets are mutual meaning participants themselves set the line in sporting events based on their wagering. The Portuguese operators themselves only facilitate the action, they are not odds-makers.
Throughout Portugal exist thousands of licensed ticket sellers of SCML lottery and sports betting products. The largest of these is a lottery house called CAMPIÃO which has been in business longer than any other lottery entity in the world. CAMPIÃO is responsible for close to half of the sports betting ticket transactions that take place in Portugal.
Casinos in Portugal
The SCML doesn’t quite control all gambling in Portugal. The casino game blackjack and others such as poker and bingo are legal in the country but may only be operated by an entity that has been granted a license from the Portuguese government. All table-based casino games and machine games like slots and video poker are illegal in Portugal anywhere except in a casino which has been granted a license by the country’s Inspector General of Games. So far, only ten such licenses have been awarded to operators. Running a gambling business in Portugal has proven a difficult task to achieve for many who have tried.
Online Gambling Law in Portugal
Looking for legal online gambling in Portugal? It exists, but you won’t find it out from under the umbrella of the SCML-controlled gaming monopoly. The same outfit granted a monopoly on the state’s lottery and sports betting operations also holds complete control on all legal online gambling websites in Portugal.
For over a decade now, the government of Portugal has been locked in a battle with iGaming operators like bet365 who seek to offer their services to Portuguese players. The country has goes as far even as ordering Internet service providers to block traffic going to major online gambling operators from within the country.
The culture of prohibition towards online gambling operations to preserve the state-controlled monopoly in Portugal could be under threat. While SCML has enjoyed a monopoly on all Internet betting in the country, a worsening revenue crisis could force the nation to reexamine its online gambling laws.
Earlier this year, Spain legalized online gambling and granted licenses to hundreds of operators seeking to do business in the country. The move was intended to help salvage a fiscal crisis in the state. Portugal may soon find themselves in need of taking similar action which would mean an end to the SCML monopoly on online gambling within Portuguese borders.