Positive Changes for Portuguese Online Poker Bill

February 25th, 2015 | by Brian Corlisse
Changes appear to make Portuguese online poker bill more viable for operators and players.

Positive changes to Portugal’s online poker bill. (image: AP Photo)

Recent changes to the pending Portuguese online poker bill have given the country’s residents renewed hope for the future viability of the local igaming economy.

When the Portuguese government signaled its desire to enact a new set of gambling laws, a wave of worry washed over the local poker community.

Much of the consternation centered on the fear that new regulations would restrict an operator’s ability to connect with international playerpools which would make the market unprofitable for players.

Server Issues for Portuguese iGaming

Written into one of the early drafts of the Portuguese online poker bill was the stipulation that operators must make their servers capable of and available for real-time monitoring. This provision was intended to make it possible for officials to record player data and transactions in real time.

The cost and logistics of this technology would have been hugely prohibitive for operators, especially ones that also offered games to an international playerpool as defining country specific data would be a costly exercise. Fortunately, in a revised version of the bill, this clause has now been removed which has given local players hope that playerpool sharing with other countries will be possible.

In fact, nowhere in the bill does it suggest that international segregation is required which essentially means that if and when the law passes, Portuguese players will be have full access to the games they currently play.

On top of this change, legislators have also agreed to simplify the deposit/ withdrawal process. Instead of players having to use a limited number of expensive options, the government is prepared to allow players to use any credit institution that’s established within a recognized European Member State.

Still a Taxing Issue for Portuguese Players

One alteration that wasn’t mentioned in the latest version of the online gaming bill is the tax on operators. This will still be set at rate somewhere around 30 percent and the likelihood is that this cost will be passed on to players in the form of reduced rewards and bonuses.

However, not all the previously defined terms that remain are negative. The legislation will require operators to implement better safety measures, as well as segregate player funds from operating capital. Before they are granted a license to operate the sites will need to prove the effectiveness of their new measures through official documentation. This news will certainly come as a relief to many Portuguese professionals who will have witnessed the problems US players faced in the wake of Full Tilt’s post-Black Friday meltdown.

Although the deadline for implementing the new laws hasn’t been clarified, it’s expected things will take shape this week. The deadline for enacting the bill before its lapses is March 2 so the new conditions will need to be agreed upon and voted in before the close of February.


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