Portugal Set to Establish Online Gambling Regulation
The Portuguese parliament is set to discuss the possible regulation of online gambling and a decision and new bill are expected before the end of the session on 10 July.The Ministry of Economics has drawn up a final bill proposal which would allow foreign operators to receive licenses and set tax rates for online gambling at around 15-20%.
The licenses would be issued by a state-controlled committee, a system that is similar to the ones in place in neighboring Spain, France and Italy.
The drafts of the bill that circulated in 2013 were less liberal in their approach. Currently all the country’s gambling is regulated by a 500-year-old religious organization, the Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa (SCML).
The organization uses the profits it gained from gambling towards charitable causes. The more liberal approach in the final proposal is likely due to the country’s difficult economic position which could be relieved through gambling taxation.
However, Pedro Santana, the head of SCML remains hopeful, “If the state gives us, as we hope, the opportunity to exploit sports betting, we have everything ready to begin immediate investigations, which is not the case with other operators interested in this legislation.”