Portugal Takes A Step Forward Before Freezing AgainPublished April 21, 2016 by Lee R
The SRIJ still seems entrenched in the fact-gathering process.
Those ready for regulation in Portugal will have to hurry up and wait.
Meeting Results in Delay
A meeting between gambling regulator Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) and the pro-online gaming faction Associação Nacional de Apostadores Online (ANAon) resulted in the determination that Portugal´s first found of licensing would be delayed until June.
This is not the first time the date has been pushed back. Regulation appeared imminent until early 2015, when the Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) decided to revamp the system.
The ensuring confusion resulted in operators such as William Hill and PokerStars taking a walk in July, putting their Portugal plans on hold while trying their fortunes in other of the many emerging markets. Meanwhile, provider PKR pulled out entirely in light of the Portugal´s new 15-30% tax on gross gaming revenue.
Then towards the end of the year, SRIG declared the intention to ring-fence the Portuguese online poker market away from international liquidity in the same manner that had already proved disastrous for Italy, France, and Spain.
The idea of creating any special requirements for funds playing the tiny Portugal market within Europe was vehemently protested by a private advocacy organization of influential online gamblers called the Associação Nacional de Apostadores Online (ANAon). The response took the form of a protest in which the ANAon asked fellow online gamblers to refuse to play on newly licensed Portugal sites, prompting further dialogue between the SRIJ and ANAon.
The main result of new meetings is the SRIJ indication of permission of international liquidity for online poker as part of its new gaming regime.
This is a huge step forward, but under the delight of online poker and gambling enthusiasts in Portugal remains the question of will regulated bring back the big provider competitors?
The SRIJ is likely consulting with regulatory bodies in other countries in order to perfect a model for small market competition in a globalized online economy. Only after that market model is put into effect can we expect to find out who jumps in.