EGBA calls for online gambling tax review in Portugal to improve functioning of the market
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has urged the Portuguese gambling authorities to review the country’s tax rules for online gambling to improve the functioning of its online market. This comes as Portuguese media report that 75% of Portugal’s online gamblers are playing outside of Portugal’s regulated online gambling market – depriving the state of valuable tax revenue from gambling and leaving Portugal’s online gamblers unprotected by Portugal’s local consumer protection safeguards for online gambling.
EGBA urges the authorities to apply equal taxes across all online gambling products – and based on gross gaming revenue (GGR). This will ensure the regulated Portuguese market becomes more attractive to players – because a sensible taxation level will lead to better priced betting odds – and pull into the regulated market more of the 75% of Portuguese players who are now playing on websites not regulated in Portugal.
“The current online gambling law in Portugal rightly allows multiple online gambling operators to obtain a license and provide their services to Portuguese citizens who wish to place a bet online. In the online environment this is the best way to ensure that Portuguese players can play on licensed and regulated gambling websites – and that is why 25 EU member states have now adopted this model.
However, the current Portuguese tax regime for online gambling is discriminatory because it applies a more favourable tax for some operators, whilst others have to pay a much higher tax based on a broader tax base. As a result, applying for a Portuguese license is much less attractive for online gambling companies based elsewhere in the EU: for instance, only one EGBA member has a license in Portugal, while many more are very interested to obtain a license there if the tax regime becomes non-discriminatory and better suited to the online gambling environment.
If the tax rules do not change then Portuguese consumers will continue to find more competitive gambling products with websites which are not regulated and licensed in Portugal — which do not pay tax in Portugal and might expose Portuguese players to inadequate consumer protection safeguards.
That is why, we encourage the Portuguese authorities to tax all online gambling operators equally and on the basis of the so-called gross gaming revenue, as is done in almost every other EU country. This would encourage more companies to get a license for the Portuguese market and increase the share of existing Portuguese players who are playing within the regulated online gambling environment in Portugal.”
– Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA)