Various forms of gambling (online and offline gambling activities) are legal in Portugal, but only since as recently as 2017 when new legislation came into effect. This means that if you live in Portugal, you can find all kinds of gambling activities such as lotteries and sports betting. Portuguese citizens can also find several games of skill and chance (such as slots) and are permitted to play on these games at Portuguese licensed gambling sites.
Portuguese gamblers also have access to hundreds of popular foreign gambling sites, and they are not breaking the law when signing up to and paying in the real money at these websites. Although the gambling industry in Portugal was largely unregulated for many years, it now has a developed framework and effective regulatory system in place.
Gambling History in Portugal
Finding a comprehensive ‘history of gambling in Portugal’ isn’t as easy as it sounds, but we can go back far as 1904 when the very first land-based casino was built. Portugal is home to one of the oldest land-based casinos in the world - Casino Estoril. The turn of the 20th century was also the dawn of the modern gambling market in the country. Although gambling has been banned on a couple of occasions, this was only for some extremely brief periods.
In 2010 and then again just two years later, in 2012, the Portuguese government tried taking control of the online gambling industry by enforcing compulsory licensing of Portuguese approved online casinos. The two proposed bills that would give them the power were thrown out. Although they had a monopoly of all land-based gambling activities, they still had little control over the flourishing online gambling industry, and foreign operators were still free to operate in the country without being licensed by the government.
The most recent changes, however, occurred in 2015 when a new law was finally passed by the government that meant online casinos were now legal but must be licensed by the government to operate in Portugal. The authorities also officially opened their doors to international operators in the summer of 2016 and these must also obtain a license from the government to operate within the country. However, today many foreign operators remain unlicensed by Portuguese authorities but still aim their business towards the lucrative market and avoid paying taxes.
Portugal Gambling & Online Gambling Laws
Many of the most common forms of online and offline gambling activities are legal in Portugal but have only been legal since 2017. The online and offline gambling industries in Portugal are both regulated by the Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos of Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) – or when translated into English, the Portuguese Gambling Regulatory and Inspection Authority and most casinos are operated by two major casino groups, Estoril-Sol Group and Solverde Group. The main activities that are allowed include games of chance (such as slots), games of skill, lotteries and sports betting. All of this and is now permitted at a handful of home-grown gambling sites.
Many Portuguese citizens tend to gamble at online casinos that are both licensed offshore and operate from outside of Portuguese borders, and there’s nothing currently stopping Portuguese from visiting these sites and gambling at them in the real money mode. The online gambling laws in Portugal are known as the Online Gambling and Betting Legal Regime and to gamble in the country, you must be at least 18 years old. Operators must pay the government tax that varies from 15% and 30% depending on the type of the game, but players don’t have to worry about paying any taxes on their winnings.
Online Casino Benefits to Players from Portugal
Portuguese citizens can now sign up to some of the best online casinos in the world, and just a handful of these top-rated Portuguese online casinos are fully licensed and regulated in the United Kingdom by the UK Gambling Commission. You can also find even more popular foreign gambling sites that currently accept real cash wagers from Portuguese citizens, and these ones tend to be licensed either in Gibraltar or in Malta.
In fact, you can also find several Portugal online casinos that are licensed in several other major jurisdictions such as Kahnawake and Curacao and the casinos that operate in all of these jurisdictions often rank among the best in the world. The operators of these websites usually have solid reputations and proven track records in the gambling industry.
Portuguese players currently have access to some of the best online casinos in the world and they can benefit from some amazing bonuses, generous loyalty rewards programs and can play in their only local currency of Euros. Today’s best Portuguese online casinos welcome a variety of popular Portuguese online payment options, support is available 24/7 (and usually toll-free), and the good news is that even the websites can be displayed in Portuguese.
Other notable benefits include being able to play on some of the best online casino games in the world that have been developed by numerous industry-award-winning software providers and every day of the week you can play to win some life-changing jackpots. There are lots more benefits to players from Portugal such as not having to pay taxes on winnings at foreign gambling sites and you can enjoy playing within a secure online environment that is protected by some of the most advanced online security measures (256-bit SSL encryption technology).
FAQ Useful to Players from Portugal
Do I have to pay any taxes on my winnings when playing at Portuguese or foreign gambling sites?
No. You do NOT have to pay taxes on your winnings when playing at home-grown, Portuguese licensed online casinos, or when playing at online casinos that are licensed abroad and operate from outside of Portuguese borders.
Is it legal to play at online casinos?
Yes. in Portugal, there is no law that prevents you from playing at online casinos.
How trustworthy are foreign gambling sites for Portuguese citizens?
The Portuguese online casinos that are licensed in the UK, Malta or Gibraltar often rank among the most secure online casinos in the world. Your funds/personal details are always in safe hands and are protected by SSL encryption technology.
How can I make deposits & withdrawals at online casinos if I live in Portugal?
There are plenty of popular Portuguese online payment options available today, and most online casinos accept a wide range of major credit & debit cards and e-wallets, plus several other reliable methods. They also tend to always accept Euros and most other major global currencies.
How do I contact the casino when I need to?
Today’s top-rated Portuguese gambling sites generally have email, live chat and telephone support (toll-free) and quite often you will find that the professionally trained support agents can communicate with you in Portuguese. The websites can also now be displayed in Portuguese.
Online Gambling Highlights in Portugal
- Portuguese players can now legally gamble at hundreds of the world’s best online casinos (and other similar gambling sites)
- Take advantage of a guaranteed new player welcome bonus when you sign up and then look forward to plenty more ongoing promotional offers and casino bonuses
- Play in your local currency of Euros and deposit & withdraw using a broad range of popular Portuguese online payment options
- Play on thousands of games from some of the world’s best online casino software providers. Live dealer games also available
- All Portuguese gambling sites today are available on desktop and mobile, and the games can generally be launched instantly in your web browser, no download required. However, the option to download is also sometimes available
- Big jackpots up for grabs daily and you get to play in secure online environments that are protected by 256-bit SSL encryption technology
- You can now enjoy playing legally at trusted gambling sites that are controlled by some of the most renowned gambling operators in the world
Problem Gambling Help in Portugal
If you are looking for support, advice or general information regarding problem gambling and if you live in Portugal I can recommend visiting the websites of several internationally accredited organizations such as Gamblers Anonymous, GamCare, Gambling Therapy and Gamble Aware. Most of these global organizations offer free practical advice and emotional support to anyone affected by problem gambling (you, a friend, a family member or someone else that you may be concerned about).
The expert services are confidential and non-judgemental, and the professionally trained counsellors can be reached via live support groups, email and toll-free telephone. For example, regular sessions are held in the GamCare online chatroom, where users can use live text chat to talk about issues related to problem gambling. You can also find lots of other useful problem gambling tools, and information in the form of questionnaires, faq sections, relevant problem gambling articles and much more, plus the links to these websites are generally provided by the gambling sites that are actively trying to promote responsible gambling.