Sports betting is a popular form of entertainment in Portugal, which is unsurprising considering that some of the greatest soccer players are born here. The most well-liked sports in Portugal are soccer, cycling, athletics, golf, water sports, motorsports, etc. Figures presented by Statista show that consumer spending on online sports betting in Portugal amounted to over €305 million in 2022.
In 1916, the country passed the so-called Legal Regime for The Operation of Games of Chance in Casinos, legalizing land-based gambling activities. Initially, online gambling and sports betting were illegal in Portugal. But as time passed by, the Portuguese government changed its stance on the matter and established a sports betting monopoly held by the state-backed Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (Santa Casa). Fortunately, the country decided to discard the monopoly and open the sports betting market to international operators in 2015.
Best Sports Betting Sites in Portugal
In 2015, Portugal liberalized its sports betting market. But many operators decided to bid farewell to the Portuguese market due to the burdensome taxes and strict licensing conditions. As of March 2022, 11 licenses for fixed-odds sports betting and 14 for games of chance were awarded to foreign operators. In the list below, you will find the best betting sites geared toward the Portuguese market.
Best Sports Betting Bonuses in Portugal
Many punters join a given betting site due to the bonuses it offers. To entice newcomers and retain existing punters, operators offer various mouth-watering promotions. Our dedicated team at Bonusinsider checked the promotions offered at some of the most reputable online sportsbooks that accept bettors from Portugal and noticed that the most common bonus types include match deposit bonuses, free bets, risk-free bets, and odds boosts.
Match Deposit Bonus
Sports fans from Portugal can benefit from match deposit bonuses if they make a qualifying deposit. The online sportsbook will match their first payment by a certain percentage up to a maximum amount. Match deposit bonuses are usually tied to wagering requirements that bettors must satisfy within a specific timeframe. If you claim a match deposit bonus, you will also have to comply with minimum odds requirements. Keep in mind that some sporting events may be excluded from the promotion.
Licensed betting sites often treat their newcomers to free bets. This promotion provides new registrants with the opportunity to place a bet on a sporting event without wagering real cash. This means that if your wager loses, your bankroll will remain intact. On the other hand, you can win some money given that the bet wins. What sports fans should keep in mind is that free bets cannot be withdrawn. Note that free bets can be used on events with minimum odds as designated by the operator.
Many online sportsbooks accepting punters from Portugal offer risk-free bets as welcome bonuses. This bonus type requires bettors to place a real-money wager, and if the bet loses, the sportsbook will return the amount of your wager in the form of free bets. Risk-free bets usually have an upper limit.
Some Portuguese-friendly online sportsbooks increase the odds on specific betting markets. This way punters can win more money for the same amount of risk involved. To benefit from the odds boost promotion, you only have to place a qualifying wager. We advise Portuguese punters to check the promotions on offer regularly because many betting sites feature enhanced odds on various betting markets on a daily basis.
Betting Regulation in Portugal
Portugal’s online sports betting market has grown exponentially over the past years, with sports betting revenue reaching €64.7 million in the second quarter of 2022. Today, Portuguese bettors can legally wager on various sports online. But that has not always been the case. The online sports betting industry went through a long and thorny path before it was finally regulated and liberalized.
Initially, the charity organization Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa (SCML) was granted exclusive rights to offer sports betting activities to Portuguese punters. The funds generated from sports betting were used to support elderly people and children in the Lisboa area. At that time, only pooled betting was allowed. But in the early 2000s, Internet gambling started growing in popularity at a rapid pace. As a result, the Portuguese government passed Legislative Decree 282/2003, granting exclusive rights to the SCML to provide online sports betting services on Portuguese soil.
But this did not prevent international sportsbooks from accepting Portuguese punters. What is more, the law did not prosecute Portuguese punters for using the services of unlicensed betting sites. In 2009, the reputable sportsbook Bwin challenged Portugal’s sports betting monopoly, but the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of the country. Although Portugal upheld its sports betting monopoly for years, it failed to restrict access to all unlicensed betting sites. Due to the limited betting options offered by the SCML, a growing number of sports fans from Portugal turned to unlicensed operators.
Portugal Liberalizes Its Online Sports Betting Market
In 2013, the Portuguese government announced its plans to open the sports betting market to foreign operators. And only two years later, the country passed Decree-Law 66/2015, which came into effect on 29th April, liberalizing the Portuguese online sports betting market. Before that, only the SCML was allowed to organize online and offline sports betting activities in Portugal.
According to the new law, foreign operators must obtain a license from the Portuguese gambling authority Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ). Unfortunately, reputable operators decided to stray from the Portuguese online betting market due to unfavorable licensing conditions and burdensome taxes.
Tough Licensing Conditions
To receive a stamp of approval from SRIJ, operators must pay a homologation fee of €18,000 and €2,000 per each type of game they want to offer on their websites. Licenses are valid for three years, and operators must pay a renewal fee of €12,000 per license.
Besides, only betting companies with registered offices in an EU or EEA country can receive a Portuguese license. Operators must pay a tax of 8% on the handle on fixed-odds sports betting and horse racing, while pari-mutuel horse racing is subject to a 25% tax on GGR. On a more positive side, gambling winnings are currently not taxed in Portugal.
Operators who illegally take bets from Portuguese punters will be sentenced to no more than five years in prison or 500 daily units. Although many unlicensed betting sites have been blocked by the Portuguese ISPs, there are still online sportsbooks that illegally accept Portuguese punters.
Portugal Tightens Live Betting and Advertising Rules
In 2022, the Portuguese gambling regulator introduced a new rule regarding in-game betting, according to which betting sites are no longer allowed to advertise live odds on any media platform, including social media and stadium displays. The SRIJ explained that wrongdoers will be fined or sanctioned.
In October 2021, the country implemented restrictions regarding gambling advertisements. Gambling commercials on television and radio are allowed from 10:30 pm to 07:00 am only. Moreover, gambling adverts cannot be broadcasted 30 minutes before or after a program for children. By implementing such restrictions, the Portuguese government seeks to improve responsible gambling awareness.
What is the youngest age to participate in sports betting activities in Portugal?
Online and land-based casino gambling and sports betting are legal in Portugal. However, individuals must be at least 18 years old to participate in gambling activities. Licensed betting sites do not accept Portuguese residents under the minimum age for gambling.
What payment methods can Portuguese punters use to deposit and withdraw?
The most popular payment method in Portugal is Multibanco. Many sports fans from this country also resort to debit/credit cards by Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro to top up their bankrolls and cash out their profits. Digital wallets are also preferred by many sports fans from this country due to their safety and promptness. Some of the most widespread eWallets among Portuguese bettors are Skrill, Neteller, ecoPayz, and PayPal. Betting sites geared toward the Portuguese market also allow their users to manage their bankrolls via Bank Transfer.
What bonuses do online betting sites offer to bettors from Portugal?
At the moment of writing, there are no restrictions imposed on operators regarding the sports betting bonuses they can offer to Portuguese punters. Among the most common bonuses available to bettors from Portugal are match deposit bonuses, free bets, risk-free bets, and enhanced odds. Before claiming a promotion, punters must carefully read the bonus terms and conditions.
What currencies do Portuguese-friendly betting sites accept?
All betting sites licensed by the Portuguese gambling regulator accept the Euro (EUR) – the official currency of Portugal. By using the Euro to deposit and withdraw funds, Portuguese punters will avoid currency conversion fees.
Do betting sites need a license to target sports fans from Portugal?
Portugal liberalized its online sports betting market in 2015. All operators interested in offering their services to Portuguese bettors must obtain a license from the Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ). Betting sites that are not licensed by the SRIJ are not allowed to target punters from Portugal. Those who violate the law will face hefty penalties.