According to a recent report, Portugal has been defeated when it comes to the battle of pulling local players away from illegal poker room operators by offering them fully regulated gambling websites instead.
On Tuesday, the RGA Gaming Association revealed its report, prepared in cooperation with Eurogroup Consulting. It was aimed at answering the question how the regulated gambling market has been doing from the moment of legalization, that is from June 2016.
When in February 2015 Portugal adopted a new gambling law, the government counted on 25 million euros of new income annually. We have some time until the end of the year, and the first three quarters have brought profits in the form of 24.5 million, so it is not bad. Unfortunately, these are the profits of all operators and not always those operating with the government's permission.
The high taxes imposed by Portugal effectively repelled operators from the legal market and to this date only 7 companies have applied for a license. These firms alas are forced to put some of the financial burden on the players, and you know how it ends if the number of the latter is considered.
The RGA report, based on a survey conducted among local players, shows that as many as two-thirds of them (exactly 68%) sit down to play cards and casino games on “not necessarily legal” websites. 38% of respondents play exclusively on the websites of international operators, and 30% divide their time between local operators and those mentioned before.
Asked why they choose games that the government perceives as unfair, they simply say that they have more profitable offers there. This in turn results from the conditions that are imposed on legal companies, and which others do not have to meet.
One of the most stringent provisions of the regulated market is, for example, a sports betting tax, which is deducted, not from the operator's income, but from the company's turnover. As a result, only 39% of the players use this type of legitimate sites, and not 80% -90% as it was optimistically foreseen.
The head of the RGA for relations with the government Pierre Tournier said that the report clearly shows that the new regulated market “does not change the situation and further changes are needed if the money is to flow into the state budget.”