Gross revenues from casinos, bingo halls and games operated by state-run charity Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa increased in the first quarter of 2016 by 32 per cent compared to the same period last year.
In total, the Portuguese spent €762.5m – €183m more than in the first three months of 2015. Gross sales also rose by 36 percent and stood at €678.8m. The strong performance was influenced by a new sports fixed-odds sports betting product Placard, which was launched in September 2015 and which accounted for 13 per cent of revenue in the first quarter of this year. In January, sales for games run by the charity increased by as much as 44 per cent compared with the same month in 2015 standing at €243m. Around 12 per cent of this figure was achieved with the new sports betting game.
The lottery predicts that the game will generate yearly sales of around €250m.
The lottery games operated by the state which include the EuroMillions lottery as well as instants accounted for around 89 per cent of sales. Meanwhile bingo and and casinos made up a small part of gross income. This year with the first licences for online gaming going live the organisation predicts that gaming revenue will increase significantly. Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa has already announced its intention to apply for a license for the provision of online gambling in Portugal.
Meanwhile land based casinos have gone through six consecutive years of losses but this year could report positive results according to reports in local media. Between January and March revenue rose 5 per cent compared to the same period last year, reaching €71m.
Back in 2012 it was revealed that a government committee was looking into legalising online gambling in order to raise cash for state pension funds and to aid debt-ridden soccer clubs. This was after a Portuguese court ruled that the sponsorship of sports by online gambling companies was illegal. Under previous rules only the state-run charity Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa could offer sports betting and lotteries. Betclic was the first company to be issued a licence after new laws were passed last year which gave the green light to online gaming companies. Betclic launched its Betclic.pt site last week after being granted a licences by the the regulatory body the Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ).
Portugal’s government is hoping that opening the country up as a new online gaming market will attract enough national and international operators to raise an extra €25m in tax revenue. The Portuguese online gaming sector will include casino games, sports betting, horse racing, poker and bingo. Taxation will be set between 15 and 30 per cent for casino operators and eight and 16 per cent for sports betting operators.