Casinos are legal in Portugal. Land-based gambling became legal in the country in 1989 when the Decree-Law allowed operators to open up and offer their services to the people. Before 2015, online gambling was not regulated, but players were fond of these sites which is why they accessed these sites quite often.
With the Decree-Law No. 66/2015, which was brought in 2015, online casinos finally became legal and people were able to register and play at all licensed online casinos.
The government even developed a system that blocks unlicensed sites in the country, but time proved that this system is not as effective as they thought. Many Portuguese players still access unlicensed sites as they find ways to go around the government’s security protocols.
Not only that, but the gambling taxes in Portugal are enormous. Online operators pay taxes on revenue that range between 15-30%, which is extremely high, compared to taxes in other countries.
The taxes are the very reason why numerous reputable operators do not offer their services to Portuguese people anymore. Additionally, even though players are formally not allowed to access unlicensed sites, the government issues no penalties to those that do access them.
As for the regulations, the Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal is the authority that oversees all gambling-related activities in Portugal.
This regulatory body also issues licenses to gambling operators (both land-based and online casinos). According to Portuguese law, the legal gambling games that are eligible for licenses are the following:
- Games of chance such as baccarat, blackjack, slot games, poker in tournament mode, various types of poker such as Hold’em, Omaha, Caribbean, etc.
- Horse-racing betting
- Fixed-odds sports betting
There are a total of 10 land-based casinos in Portugal, as stated earlier. The country is divided into gambling zones and one casino is permitted to exist in each zone. 9 of the land-based casinos are located on the mainland, while 1 is on Madeira.
As for the taxes, the amount varies a lot. For example, bingo halls are subject to 25% tax on revenue, games of chances and mutual bets on horse races are also 25%, while online gambling is subject to special tax law.
Finally, the taxes on fixed sports betting and fixed horse racing betting are 8% if the operators have other sources of income not related to gambling, and 35% if sports betting is their only revenue. As for the players, their winnings are not subject to taxes at all. The legal age for gambling in Portugal is 18.