Portugal has an open and inviting online gambling industry. The Iberian country initially looked as though it was going to follow the same route as its European neighbours and regulate its industry so that foreign operators were excluded. However, the gambling laws which were introduced in 2015 made it clear that every operator would have the chance to offer their services to players in Portugal. What does that mean for gamblers, and what makes the best online casinos in Portugal? We aim to find out in the article.
An Overview of Gambling in Portugal
Portugal was one of the first major European countries to legalise gambling fully. Since 1904, Portugal has continually ensured that visiting brick-and-mortar casinos has been legal. When online gambling came into its own, it was, therefore, a foregone conclusion that online gambling would be legalised, too.
The legalisation of online gambling in Portugal did not take place until 2010. However, it was not made illegal before that. Portugal did flirt with making offshore casinos illegal in 2012, but those laws were revoked just three years later.
In 2015, the most current incarnation of Portugal’s gambling laws was passed. These made it legal for all operators (irrespective of where they are based) to be able to apply for a Portuguese gambling license. Naturally, most major operators took advantage of Decree-Law 66/2015 to do just that. As such as online gambling in Portugal is a major industry which brings in plenty of revenue for Atlantic coast country.
To date, provided an operator holds a Portuguese issued gambling license, it is legal for them to offer games to Portuguese players. At the same time, Portugal does not prosecute its nationals who decide to visit offshore casinos. The main reason for this is that Portugal has not passed a law-making playing at offshore casinos illegal. Portugal does not ban offshore casinos, either. However, with so many top online casinos licensed out of Portugal, there are not too many reasons to really opt to play at offshore casinos.
Portugal’s Most Played Casino Games
Players in Portugal like to bet, and there are many different games that they can choose to bet on. These range from casino games to sports betting, poker, and lottery games to bingo. Before we dive into what makes a great Portuguese online casino, it is worth looking at the many types of games that Portuguese players can take advantage of.
Online Casino Games: As mentioned earlier, all forms of online casino games are legal in Portugal. The European country does not differentiate between games of skill and chance. A typical Portuguese licensed online casino can offer players slot machine games, table games, video poker, instant win games, scratch cards and much more besides. In most cases, these games will be RNG (random number generator) certified. Slots tend to make up the majority of any Portuguese casino’s gaming library with classic slots, 3D slots, video slots and progressive jackpot slots up for grabs.
Table Poker: Poker is extremely popular with Portuguese players. Portugal does have online poker laws, so operators must make sure that any poker games they carry fall in line with those. Poker tournaments can be found at online casinos, with the most popular games including Caribbean Stud, Omaha, Texas Hold ‘em and Spanish poker, otherwise known as Póquer Sintético. Other table games popular with players in Portugal include baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and casino classics.
Live Dealer Casino Games: Live dealer games are not as popular in Portugal as in some countries, but there are still plenty of them for you to try. The poker live dealer games tend to be more accessible, although gameplay in Portuguese is hard to come by. Instead, most live dealer titles tend to be feature English or Spanish language gameplay.
Lottery Games and Bingo: Lottery games seldom appear at the best Portuguese online casinos. Instead, the Portuguese lottery runs its own site. Portuguese players are free to play at offshore casinos if they wish to play other games, though. As for bingo games, these are considered the same as lotteries. Bingo is popular in land-based venues across Portugal. However, there is not really a demand for the game online, though. Players who do want to play will find video bingo games at foreign casinos.
Sports Betting: Like most European countries, Portugal has many sports bettors. Many of the international domains which are licensed out of Portugal will give Portuguese the option of wagering on sports, too. Given the popularity of sports bets, it is near-enough essential that all the best Portuguese online casinos offer this option.
Taxes on Big Wins at Portuguese Casinos
Portugal may be one of the most liberal countries around when it comes to online gambling, but it does have some hefty tax laws regarding gambling. The reported 2020 budget will see an online casino tax increase from 15% to 25%. Taxes on betting exchanges will rise to 35%. They are currently just 15%. Before you get overly worried, though, you should note that these taxes only apply to operators.
There are no taxes in place for players who pocket wins via sportsbooks or online casinos in Portugal. However, if you were to land a big win playing a lottery game in Portugal, then you will have to pay tax. You need not worry about that too much, either, though. Provided that the site is licensed out of Portugal, they are legally required to withhold the tax from your winnings, so it is already taken care of when you pocket your prize.
The Best Portuguese Online Casinos to Join Today
Portuguese players have the options of playing at both locally licensed and offshore online casinos. However, as there are many major international sites operating legally with a Portuguese license, there is not really any reason to opt to play at foreign domains. Here are some of the perks you can expect to find from some of the best Portuguese online casinos today.
Everything is Legal: When playing at a Portuguese licensed casino, you do not need to worry about breaking any laws. You can rest assured that you are playing at a fair, licensed, secure, and regulated online casino which operators fully within the Portuguese gambling laws.
Tax is Taken Care Of: Portuguese betting sites have a legal requirement to withhold any duties from you if you must pay tax on your winnings. Ordinarily, this will not apply to wins on sports bets or casino games, only on lottery games. However, if any tax is due, you can rest assured that the site you are playing at will do that for you, relieving you of the trouble.
Sports Betting and Casino Games in One: As mentioned, Portugal is filled with players who love to bet on sports. However, they also enjoy a punt on casino games. It is, therefore, ideal that betting sites offer both sports betting and casino games under one roof and with a single account. By playing at a major licensed Portuguese casino, you can virtually assure yourself of this.
Portuguese Options: Of course, choosing to play at a casino which is licensed in Portugal also has other perks. For a start, you will be able to play in Portuguese. On top of that, customer support should also be available in this language. The euro currency and Portugal-friendly payment methods are also going to be available. Finally, any promotions and bonuses found at the best Portuguese online casinos are certainly going to be claimable.
As we have said, Portuguese players have choices in front of them when they wish to bet online. They can opt to play at foreign and offshore casinos if they want to, and they cannot be punished for doing so. However, there are plenty of top Portuguese online casinos which are licensed legally in the country and in many cases, they are amongst the best online casinos in Portugal. They, too, are well worth a look.