In the first quarter of 2020, growth in online gambling outpaced a downturn in land-based activity in Portugal, as overall revenue increased by 8.4 percent to €131.8 million (£114.4 million/$143.2 million).
In the three months to March 31, online gambling revenue rose by 47.5 percent to €69.8 million.
This revenue figure was Portugal’s highest ever for a year, overtaking the €65.4 m of the previous year, and also marked the first time online gaming took in more money than its land-based counterpart.
Slightly over half of this amount came from online casino, at €35.3 million, which grew 56.5 percent to surpass sports betting sales, which itself grew 39.2 percent to €34.5 million.
This rise in sports betting income came amid a 19.6 percent decrease in wagered amounts to €149.1 million. Just under three quarters of bets (74.7 percent) were made on football, with Portugal’s Premeira Liga being the most common betting game, winning 11.4 percent of all sports stakes, or 15.2percent of football bets. Basketball led with 11.1 percent of betting, led by tennis (9.1 percent) and ice hockey (2.5 percent).
Casino stakes, meanwhile, rose to €960.8 m by 12.7 percent. Slots were by far the most common online game, reflecting a stake of 69.8 percent. Roulette followed at 12.6 percent, while blackjack staked 6.4 percent.
In online gaming income, the Portuguese government took €20.8 million, up 40.1 percent year-on-year.
The quarter’s number of new online players rose to 157,400 by 25.8 percent. The number of self-excluded players, however, also increased, to 52,100 by 47.1 percent.
The number of online players between the ages of 18 and 24 declined from 29.9 percent to 23.3 percent, while the 25-34 age group remained the highest, rising from 33.3 percent to 38.4 percent. With 23.8 percent of players, the 35-44 demographic shifted into second, while 10.1 percent were aged 45-54, 3.2 percent were aged 55-64, and 1.1 percent were aged 65 or over.
For all online Portuguese gamblers, 41.2 percent played on sports only, 39.4 percent on casino only and 19.4 percent on both.
Land-based casinos and slot arcades income dropped to €62.0 m by 17.5 percent. Of this number, €51.0 million came from gaming consoles, a year-on-year decline of 18.3 percent. The remaining €11.0 million came from casinos dependent on property, down 12.6 percent.
American roulette saw the greatest drop in revenue among casino games, dropping 42.1 percent to €2.8 million. On the other hand, baccarat revenue increased by 52.1 percent as the game became the main source of revenue for Portuguese casinos, taking €3.3 million.
Blackjack revenue rose by 2.1 percent to €2.3 million, while Banca Francesa revenue fell by 22.4 percent to €1.6 million.
In March, the shutdown of casinos in Portugal to restrict the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) greatly contributed to the decline in earnings in the land-based market. Following revenue intake of €27.5 m in January and €25.2 m in February, in March, Portuguese land based casinos and slot arcades took in just €9.3 m.
Earlier this month (April 8), Portugal’s parliament passed a bill allowing the government to impose some kind of limits on online gaming that could go as far as banning it altogether, though the country remains locked up.