EGBA urges Portugal to review online gambling tax

The association is calling for a review in online gambling taxes in order to improve functioning of the market.

Portugal.- The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is calling for Portuguese gambling authorities to review the country’s tax rules for online gambling. The association wants the country to improve the functioning of its online market.

The EGBA statement comes after Portuguese media reported that 75% of local online gamblers are playing outside of Portugal’s regulated online gambling market. This means that the state doesn’t get valuable tax revenue from gambling and leaves local players unprotected.

EGBA has urged authorities to apply equal taxes across all online gambling products – and based on gross gaming revenue (GGR). This will ensure the regulated Portuguese market becomes more attractive to players – because a sensible taxation level will lead to better priced betting odds – and pull into the regulated market more of the 75% of Portuguese players who are now playing on websites not regulated in Portugal.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, said: “The current online gambling law in Portugal rightly allows multiple online gambling operators to obtain a licence and provide their services to Portuguese citizens who wish to place a bet online. In the online environment this is the best way to ensure that Portuguese players can play on licensed and regulated gambling websites – and that is why 25 EU member states have now adopted this model.”

EGBA believes Portugal’s tax regime is discriminatory

Haijer added that the current tax regime in the country is discriminatory because it applies more favourable tax for some operators, while others have to pay a much higher tax based on a broader tax base.

“If the tax rules do not change then Portuguese consumers will continue to find more competitive gambling products with websites which are not regulated and licensed in Portugal — which do not pay tax in Portugal and might expose Portuguese players to inadequate consumer protection safeguards.

“That is why, we encourage the Portuguese authorities to tax all online gambling operators equally and on the basis of the so-called gross gaming revenue, as almost every other EU country does. This would encourage more companies to get a license for the Portuguese market and increase the share of existing Portuguese players who are playing within the regulated online gambling environment in Portugal,” he added.

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