A number of European countries have legalised and regulated online poker and gaming in recent years and it appears that Portugal could be the next country to follow suit.
The government of the southern European country has announced its openness to regulating online gaming as soon as next year. There is one key reason behind the government’s interest in regulating the market in Portugal – money in the form of tax revenue.
Portugal’s economy is one of the many affected by the economic crisis that has plagued much of the world over the last five years. The country’s state of financial affairs became so dire that it sought a multi-billion dollar bailout from the European Central Bank, something which it got in 2011.
The economy has shown a few signs of recovery, but overall the financial state of the country is still quite grim. One of the areas the Portuguese government seems to believe could help in economic recovery is a regulated online gaming industry, which could be worth millions.
The country’s economy has also suffered in other areas, including high unemployment. Portugal’s unemployment rate currently stands at just over 16 percent, which is a decrease from 17.5 percent earlier this year, but still among the highest in the European Union (EU).
Should Portugal go through with online gaming regulation in 2014, it would likely implement a tax rate of between 20 and 25 percent on all online gaming services that would operate in the country. Those rates are projected to be in line with the rates put forward on online gaming services by the majority of other EU states, including Spain and France.
If Portugal does indeed regulate online gaming and implements those tax rates, it does face the possibility of having similar problems as experienced by its neighbour, Spain. Currently, Spain has a levy of 25 percent for gaming companies that operate in the country, something that has likely attributed to a number of companies ceasing their operations in the country.
Should that occur in a regulated Portuguese online gaming market, it could mean that only a few major companies would operate in the country, which could result in the market being smaller than expected.