[author: Nuno Azevedo Neves, ABBC, Lisbon]
A new legal framework for online gambling in Portugal, that has been under discussion for several years, finally seems to be moving ahead.
On 19 June, the Council of Ministers approved a proposal of law that will allow the Government to create a legal framework and regulate the operation and playing of online gambling. This initiative will allow Portuguese Government to create legal mechanisms to combat illegal gambling and to develop social policies through the distribution of revenues resulting from the activity.
The new legal framework is intended to cover a broad range of games (casino games, poker, gaming machines, bingo, sports betting and the odds betting on horse races) when made available online, as well as “land-based” bets. The creation of a special tax to cover online gambling is expected.
In accordance with statements made by the Secretary of State for Tourism, the intention is to create an “open model” allowing, under licensing, the operation of online gambling by operators interested in developing said activity in Portugal.
It is expected that Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa remains with the exclusive right over the social games and on the “land-based” bets.
The details of the proposal are not yet known and will be subject to future discussion and approval by the Portuguese Parliament.