Portugal divides the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, the only existing land border, but has a long coastline with the Atlantic, being the most western country of Europe. The country also includes Azores and Madeira archipelagos, Portuguese autonomous regions.
Lisbon is the capital of the country that has approximately 10 million inhabitants, and they belong to the European Union since January 1st, 1986. The official language is Portuguese and Portugal belongs to the Eurozone since 1999, meaning that the currency used is the Euro.
Gambling activities are legalized in Portugal, including lotteries and casinos. The state is responsible for operating games of luck, so they can organize them themselves or delegate to another entity. The state also regulates games that offer non-monetary prizes, and non-charitable companies cannot organize such games except for promotional activities.
Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa (SCML) is the entity responsible for organizing social games that include the state lottery and sports betting. These rights hold by SCML are exclusive, so this means that also in Portugal a monopoly for gambling exists. The only activities excluded are horse racing, not very popular in the country, and gambling events organization.
Still talking about horse racing and even bingo, these are allowed activities, but regulated by contracts that can be up to three decades, and restricted to certain areas of the country. In what concerns casinos, a few licenses have been issued, also here according to gambling zones, being only one casino per zone allowed.
Currently, there are eleven licensed casinos in the country: Madeira, Lisboa, Estoril, Figueira da Foz, Espinho, Algarve, Vilamoura, Monte Gordo, Povoa, Chaves, and Troia. Gambling operations that are not licensed are illegal and punished by Decree-Law 114/2011, articles 108, 111 and 114.
Lotteries go back to 1783 in Portugal when the Queen D.M.Pia approved a lottery program from the already existing at the time SCML. The goal of this program was to generate money for the poor, and that was the beginning of the Portuguese National Lottery.
SCML continued to be responsible for the lottery, as well as betting games that depend on of football matches, starting in 1961. In 1985 SCML got, even more, responsibilities with lotto and other lotteries. Today these responsibilities have been divided with the meanwhile created Departments of Sports Betting, National Lottery Service, and Games Department, all under the roof of SCML though.
Portugal is an online gambling friendly country, and all forms of gambling are regulated by the government. The goal of the authorities is to provide safe gambling sites, and for this, the government is even working together with private gambling companies to provide quality gambling services in the country.
Sports booking and lotteries are still controlled by the SCML as mentioned above, and in addition to this, the government has been blocking foreign online casinos that are not properly licensed.
2013 brought news, as the government wanted to legalize online gambling in order to get the tax benefits that the activity brings. A special bill was sent to the Parliament in order to regulate licensing and taxation of online gambling, including online casinos, poker, sports betting and horse racing.
In 2015 these new laws were approved, and the new online legislation allowed the expansion of online gambling and more stability to the system. This new legal framework focuses on public interests, namely protection, and also fraud and money laundering prevention, as well as general criminality associated with the activity.
Gambling Online in Portugal
Players in Portugal that want to play online have some available options. We leave some suggestions here, being Estoril Sol Casinos the most well-known in the country.
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