Gambling Tax Regime Reviewed in Portugal

March 26, 2019 Staff Writer Industry News 131

The government of Portugal has decided to review its existing gambling tax regime.

They started by forming a working group that will analyze the state of the country’s online gambling industry and find if any changes should be incorporated into the system. The working group will include six members, representatives from SRIJ and Portugal’s Ministries of Finance, Economy, Tourism, and Labour. They will have 30 days to draft and submit their findings and proposals.

The country’s existing gambling law was brought about in 2015, but it took more than a year for the reorganization to start.

Serviço de Regulação Inspeção de Jogos (SIRJ) issued the first licence to a foreign-based operator in May 2016 and thus started a new era in the provision of regulated gaming and betting services to Portuguese customers. The SIRJ has issued 16 licences since then.

Tax Rates under Scrutiny

The EU officials and the industry welcomed the reorganisation of Portugal’s market, but there are experts who criticize the high tax rates and believe they are preventing the development of the new and growing gambling market in Portugal.

According to the Portuguese law, online sports betting is taxed at 8-16% on turnover, while operators who offer online casino games and poker must pay a 15-30% tax on their yearly revenues.

Eurogroup Consulting estimated that more than 75% of all bets are made on the black market. The government took this estimation along with complaints into consideration and decided that changes must be introduced as soon as possible.

Some of the first proposals for amending the current law were introduced last year, and suggest that the government should enforce a flat tax rate of 25% on revenue. Although many expected that The Special Online Gambling Tax would be included in the final version of the Portugal’s budget plan that did not happen.

The legislative elections are scheduled to take place in October, so there is a chance for this issue to be resolved.

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