What is the main news about the gambling market in Portugal and Spain? The industry experts have answered this question during the European Gaming Congress panel dedicated to the Iberian Peninsula.
Gambling is one of the fastest-growing industries in Portugal and Spain. These regions have always been attracting foreign investors as they are dynamic and well-regulated at the same time.
Concessions form a legal framework in Portugal
Óscar Madureira, a Senior Associate at Rato, Ling, Lei & Cortés, has provided a detailed overview of how the gambling regulatory system works in Portugal. He has told attendees that the country is a very mature gambling jurisdiction, and it has a specific type of licensing, called concessions. However, it isn’t so easy to apply for the license because the concession system isn’t open. It is represented as a tender, which the government runs occasionally. According to European regulations, concessions can’t be extended without a public tender.
This principle was applied to the gambling industry in Portugal from the very beginning, almost a century ago. At the current time, there are two existing concessions in the state – one in Portugal in general, another – in the Lisbon area. The speaker has also provided information that 14 companies are operating in the gambling market now. As public tender hasn’t been launched yet, it creates many uncertainties. Some concessioners try to use extraordinary methods to extend their licenses and excuse their actions by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As for the online market, its legal framework differs from the land-based one. Every operator can apply for licensing, but it should comply with financial, technical, and other requirements. All available games are described in regulations, and an operator’s services should be approved by the regulator.
Óscar Madureira also touched upon the question of gambling taxes and advertising in Portugal. He said that there had been some amendments to the taxation, which led to the 25% taxes on GGR for the casino and sports betting sectors. The speaker has added that advertising rules haven’t changed, but the regulator has issued new guidelines. They are oriented towards responsible gambling and are provided in the form of rules, not obligations. Companies shouldn’t actively promote gambling as a lucrative activity and have the call for action gambling expressions. In other respects, iGaming advertising is acceptable in Portugal, and the country’s citizens see it almost everywhere, from TV to football matches broadcasts, although the government tries to minimize such ads.
Spain is a very exciting and dynamic market
According to Arcangelo Lonoce, a Head of Business Development - Europe at Habanero Systems, Spain’s gambling industry continues to grow, remaining interesting for both local and international operators. Currently, there are seventy-nine license holders that have penetrated the online gambling market successfully.
“We see a switch from traditional models to online models, and it makes the Spanish market very exciting,” said Mr. Lonoce.
The speaker has also spoken much about regulations in the country. He has confirmed that its regulatory environment is very attentive to player protection, security, safety. Advertising ban is a big question as well. Mr. Lonoce has said that it has pros and cons, and question marks. However, he has noted that this situation also has positive aspects. It makes operators think out-of-the-box and creatively to comply with the regulations and reach their target audience.