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Bet365 Becomes the Second Operator to Leave PortugalPublished July 20, 2015 by Lee R
As Portugal's regulations becoming increasingly restrictive, major operators such as bet365 and 888 are withdrawing from the market.
Portugal is imposing high taxes, and major providers are deferring.
Changes in Portugal Discourage
Bet365 has announced that the “changes in the regulatory regime” will bring about the conclusion of betting and gaming to Portuguese customers as of 17th July. The abrupt departure suspends existing customer accounts, leaving a two-week window for Portuguese customers to withdraw remaining funds—to the end of the month.
In kind, Bet365 has also requested that all affiliates remove any Portugal facing Bet365 that they feature.
This is a harbinger for all governments rushing to cash in on taxation and licensing of iGaming. Private providers remain independent, and are prepared to exercise their right to withdraw from any regulation model that is too expensive or imposing.
The message is: make your regulation equitable to free market entry and competition if you want to meet your revenue intake goals.
In Portugal, the struggling economy sought to pull in about $27.5 million in economic relief, but the regulatory regime signed in by President Aníbal Cavaco Silva to bail out the country economically is staggering out of the gate. Bet365 is the second major operator to withdraw from Portugal, after 888 a few weeks earlier.
The new regime in Portugal is a licensed-based model similar to Spain, Italy and France, all who have struggled to integrate online gambling effectively into their revenue systems. Portugal, the most cash-strapped country, looks to be having the worst time of it.
The new regulation imposes a 15-30% tax on gross gaming revenue, scaled to the amount of revenue a licensed operator generates, while sports betting will be taxed on a sliding scale from 8 percent to 16 percent. The partial preservation of the country's monopoly Santa Casa de la Misericordia on offshore betting also does not help.
Suffice to say, implementing regulation does not guarantee a country revenues—the model needs to be equitable to new licensees as well.