Portugal welcomes First Licensed Online Casino, Estoril Sol

Every entrepreneur entering an industry space hopes to be ultimately successful, and being the first-to-market certainly increases the odds of that happening. Portugal‘s leading live casino operator, Estoril Sol, hopes to fill those shoes after launching the country’s very first licensed online casino website, EstorilSolCasinos.pt.

Etoril Sol launches first licensed online casino in pirtugal

The launch occurred soon after the Portuguese gaming regulatory authority, Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ), announced on Monday the issuance of the region’s first iGaming license specifically permitting casino-style games of chance.

With little surprise, SRIJ awarded that licenses to Estoril Sol Digital Online Gaming and Products Services, SA.

Estoril Sol is a prominent name among the Portuguese gambling community, being the operator of the country’s three largest land-based casinos, Casino Estoril, Casino Lisbon and Casino da Povoa.

The company is chaired by 89 year old Macau casino mogul and SJM Holdings founder, Stanley Ho, reported by Forbes to be the 13th wealthiest man in Hong Kong with a net worth of $3.1 billion. In 2015, Estoril Sol posted €182m in revenue, which makes up more than two-thirds the value of the entire Portuguese land-based casino market.

Licensed Online Gambling in Portugal

The new online casino is already up and running, accepting registrations and deposits from age-appropriate players physically located within Portugal. The website is currently licensed to offer interactive slot machines, blackjack and roulette, utilizing software powered by Gaming1, based out of Brussels.

EstorilSolCasinos.pt may be the first licensed online casino to hit the market in Portugal, but it’s not the first internet gambling option provided to adult residents. There are currently two online sportsbooks already live in Portugal.

France-based operator Betclic Everest launched the country’s first licensed iGaming website, an online sports betting domain found at Betclic.pt, in May 2016. Then, earlier this month, Maltese operator Bet Entertainment Technologies Ltd launched a second licensed online sportsbook.

Profits, Taxes and Other Minor Details

Despite being nearly three months behind Portugal’s first iGaming licensee, due to its imminent popularity, Estoril is much more likely to post a profit from the endeavor before any of its competitors.

It’s also worth noting that online casinos are required to fork over 15% of gross gaming revenue to the Portuguese tax bureau. Online sports betting sites are taxed at 8% on betting turnover, but that rate will increase incrementally once an operator’s figures top €30 million.

Portugal has already received interest from a few companies keen on partnering with the country’s other land-based casino operator, Solverde, as well as Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa, the state lottery operator. So far, no official agreements have been reached.

As for the prospect of Portugal welcoming its first licensed online poker site, it could be a few months at least before that occurs. Without a shared liquidity agreement with the European Union to pool players across other EU states, the ring-fenced market won’t be nearly as appealing to operators. And with the government having delayed shared liquidity negotiations with the EU thus far, such an agreement isn’t expected to come about until November, at the absolute earliest.

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