Portugal to follow France, Spain, and Italy to Become Single-Nation Poker Market
In a move that will have shocked many in the country's online gaming industry (not least the players), SRIJ Director and Head of Online Gambling Manuela Bandeira announced on Monday that regulated online poker in Portugal would be segregated.
The announcement, made at the country's Gambling Compliance Conference in Lisbon, was unexpected to say the least. Up until now poker players in Portugal have been free to compete with players across the globe. Although a regulatory regime had been planned for some time, and it was known that all operators were likely to have to be regulated by the SRIJ, nobody had forseen the country going down the same path as France
, Italy, and Spain, and segregating the players from the global player pool.
To make matters worse for online poker players "Games of chance", (which in Portugal includes Poker) is set to be taxed at 30%, making the games all but impossible for the overwhelming majority of players to win. This seems especially harsh, as, according to flushdraw.net, other forms of gambling, including a lot of sports betting, will only be taxed between 8-16%.
Add to this the fact that France, Italy, and Spain's online poker market has shrunk since segregation due to the lack of liquidity with the smaller player pool - coupled with the fact that Portugal's market is smaller than all three of them - then one can only assume that Portuguese officials aren't too concerned with making it's online poker offering a great success.