As a stable and prosperous nation, Portugal is an attractive market for the online gambling industry. The best casino sites in Portugal are reputable and well-run websites that offer the full gambling experience for anyone interested.
Portugal’s gambling laws are still relatively new and the government has only recently begun awarding licenses to online casinos. To date, only a handful of casino websites are authorized to host real money games. We expect more to come in the near future, but these are the sites that are currently 100% legal in Portugal.
Licensed Portuguese Gambling Sites:
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For verification, the Portuguese government keeps an updated list of licensed casino sites on this page here. You can also simply check the domain of any gambling website for evidence of its legal status. All licensed operators are required to host their websites on domains that end in “.pt.” The website of any authorized gambling website should look something like this: www.website.pt.
Making Deposits and Getting Paid
Portuguese online casinos process all deposits and withdrawals in Euros via approved payment methods. Currently, players located in Portugal may fund their accounts with Multibanco, Skrill, Neteller, credit cards and instant bank transfers. The government approves payment methods individually to ensure licensed casinos only accept payments through reliable processors.
When you’re done gambling, you can initiate a withdrawal and the casino will send euros to either your e-wallet account (Skrill, Neteller, etc.) or directly to your bank account. Payments are processed quickly now that online gambling is legal. Operators no longer have to jump through all kinds of hoops to send money to winners; they are legal entities and may use the banking system to process payments just like any other company.
Gambling Laws in Portugal
Portugal is in the process of legalizing online gambling, but there’s still a long road ahead as lawmakers and industry leaders butt heads over issues regarding taxes and regulations. A law passed in 2015 set the stage for legal casino sites by outlining regulations, setting tax rates and creating a process by which operators could receive licenses to offer real money online gambling in Portugal legally.
Supporters of the new law offered the same reasoning that was made when brick-and-mortar gambling was first legalized way back in 1927. That is, there was a growing underground gambling economy that was completely unregulated, untaxed and that could easily prey on problem gamblers.
Although there was no outright prohibition on online gambling prior to 2015, there was also no means by which legitimate operators could apply for licensing to establish legal Portuguese casino sites. Instead, gaming operators located all around the world simply accepted Portuguese players with no questions asked.
Lawmakers realized that an effective prohibition of online gambling would be difficult, if not impossible. Effective prohibition would have required internet censorship, ordering payment processors to block transactions to online casinos and passing a variety of new laws to make these things happen.
If they were unable to control the growing online gambling industry, they reasoned, they might as well bring it into the government fold. Thus, the government passed Decree-Law No. 66/2015 to bring online gambling out from the shadows and into a legalized format.
In fact, the Legal Framework for Online Gambling and Betting (RJO) makes it a point to state several objectives of legal internet gambling:
- Guarantee the protection of minors and the most vulnerable
- Combat fraud and money laundering
- Combat gambling-related criminal behavior
- Safeguard the the integrity of sports
- Guarantee public safety and order
- Prevent excessive gambling and addictive behaviours and practices
To that end, Decree-Law No. 66/2015 set forth strict regulations to govern legal gambling in Portugal. These include a number of advertising rules such as not advertising gambling to minors or in locations where minors congregate, not appealing to the concept of “easy winings,” not advertising gambling within 250 metres of a school and not advertising anything related to granting loans for gambling purposes.
The law also granted the government body Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) regulator powers to oversee online gambling. SRIJ is responsible for monitoring and inspecting both online casinos and land-based gambling operations. Some of the powers of SRIJ include:
- Granting licenses to casino sites
- Creating regulations for online gambling
- Ruling on compliance with all laws related to gambling advertising
- Imposing fees and penalties for violations of the law
- Approving which sports events and horses races may bet bet on by the public
- Approving the technical systems employed by casino websites
The legal framework also prohibits certain people from engaging in online gambling. These include most public officials, prosecutors, police authorities, security forces, minors and anyone who has requested an exclusion from gambling (such as a problem gambling asking to be banned from gambling).
Furthermore, any organization requesting a license to offer online gambling in Portugal must prove it is of “good standing” and prove it has both the financial and technical capacity to run a gambling operation.
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.