Countdown to Portugal's Online Gambling RegulationPublished January 15, 2015 by Amir G
Portugal's rocky road to online gambling regulation might come to an end by the middle of 2015.
2014 was a good year for online gambling in Europe as the trend of lawmakers working to regulate online casinos and online poker swept across the continent. As in a sort of domino effect, news from more and more countries announced of bills set to adapt domestic laws with the thriving world of online gambling.
Portugal's Online Gambling Bill
Back in summer 2014, the Portuguese government approved a bill which regulated online casinos, online poker and sports betting. At the time, lawmakers believed that the bill should come into effect by the end of 2014 but domestic and all-European developments stalled the progress.
Differentiating Tax Rates
A September judgment passed by the European Union General Court (EGC) on the issue of Denmark's gambling laws was influential for Portugal. The big issue at stake was the tax differentiation practiced by the Danish government in the levies it collected from brick and mortar and online gambling operators; the EGC ruled in favor of this differentiation.
The judgment reaffirmed Portugal's plans for regulation as well as those of other countries which are working on iGaming regulation like the Netherlands. The taxation rates under the new bill would see 15% levied from operators whose cumulative gross income does not surpass €5 million, while bigger operators with income surpassing €10 million would pay a 30% tax.
Tax Rate Still High
In the eyes of operators, Portugal's expected tax rate is still too high and unproportional; the taxes are expected to swallow profits as well as the high operating costs for overseas operators. The effect of this could very possibly exclude any small operators from setting up in the Portuguese market at all.
Stay Tuned for 2015
One thing's for sure: 2015 is going to be very interesting with Portugal's online gambling regulation. Lawmakers in the country are currently estimating a mid-2015 timetable for when regulation will finally kick-off. We'll keep you posted as more news come from Portugal.