More than half of Portugal’s online gamblers are still betting on internationally licenced sites, despite efforts by their government to steer them towards locally licenced options.
The Associação Portuguesa de Apostas e Jogos Online (APAJO) published on Monday the results of a national survey that showed 56 percent of 609 local online gamblers made some form of wagering this year with an internationally approved online gambling platform.
This estimate is slightly below a separate study by the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, which found this 75% of Portuguese online gamblers made a bet in 2018 with an international site. That share was 10 points higher than a comparable 2017 survey.
Portugal’s controlled online market opened in 2016, but the APAJO survey found that 42.2% of respondents had an active online account that was previously registered, i.e. with an illegal foreign operator.
On the plus side (at least for the government), there seems to be an improvement in the share of customers who registered with locally licenced sites. When it comes to accounts opened in 2018, 52 percent were with Portuguese-licensed pages, and that figure for accounts opened in 2019 rises to 70 percent.
In addition, only 6% of respondents said they bet exclusively on international sites, while 44% bet exclusively on Portuguese approved sites. Those who bet locally cited safety as their primary reason for choosing an online operator with a Portuguese licence.
Interestingly, more than 53 percent of respondents aged 18-24 admitted betting on international sites, compared to just 29.4 percent in the 25-34 age demo. Whether this represents youthful defiance or increased risk potential remains unclear, as is whether these rebellious youth will become less interested in international sites as they grow older.
The difference could also reflect the fact that there is less cash for younger gamblers to wager and they are looking for the best bang for their gambling buck. Portugal’s regulated market features one of the highest tax rates in the European Union, and while the government has sometimes considered moving to a less punitive system, it never gets around to acting on those impulses.
The report, however, is further evidence of the upswing of Portugal’s regulated market. The regulatory body of Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) is due to release its Q3 financial report any day now, but the Q2 report showed total revenue from SRIJ-licensed operators rising to € 48.3 million from 29.5 percent year-on-year, mainly due to increases in online casino operation.