EGBA calls Portugal’s gambling tax framework “discriminatory”
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has called Portugal’s gambling tax policy “discriminatory”. The group has urged the government to review how the industry is taxed after a media investigation reported that 75% of gamblers in Portugal are using unlicensed operators.
With the majority of Portugal’s consumers playing outside of regulated operators, the state is deprived of tax revenue, while the gamblers are unprotected by consumer protection standards.
The EGBA has asked the government to “apply equal taxes across all online gambling products” and to base the level on gross gaming revenue (GGR).
The EGBA argues that this would make the Portuguese market more attractive, as odds will be more competitive thanks to a more reasonable tax revenue.
It would also serve to pull consumers towards regulated operators, ensuring more tax revenue for the state and more safety and protection for players.
In a press release published on the EGBA’s website, Maarten Haijer, EGBA secretary general, said:
The current Portuguese tax regime for online gambling is discriminatory because it applies a more favourable tax for some operators, whilst others have to pay a much higher tax based on a broader tax base. As a result, applying for a Portuguese license is much less attractive for online gambling companies based elsewhere in the EU: for instance, only one EGBA member has a license in Portugal, while many more are very interested to obtain a license there if the tax regime becomes non-discriminatory and better suited to the online gambling environment. – Maarten Haijer, EGBA secretary general
Haijer went on to warn that:
If the tax rules do not change then Portuguese consumers will continue to find more competitive gambling products with websites which are not regulated and licensed in Portugal — which do not pay tax in Portugal and might expose Portuguese players to inadequate consumer protection safeguard. – Maarten Haijer, EGBA secretary general
Portugal is currently reviewing its gambling tax framework. However, the working group undertaking the review was commissioned just one month ago and the study is not expected to be completed for two years.