On Monday, Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ), local gaming regulator, announced that it had issued an online casino license to Estoril Sol to operate using the estorilsolcasinos.pt domain.
This is the first online casino license issued by Portugal under its new regulated online gambling market.
Estoril Sol operates three land-based casinos; Casino Estoril, Casino da Povoa, and Casino Lisbon, which in 2015 reported revenue of €182 million, which is more than two thirds of the total casino market value. Estoril’s chairman is Stanley Ho; Macau casino icon, who founded the SJM Holdings casino business.
Estoril’s new website, which has already gone live, is licensed to offer slots, roulette and blackjack. Its online platform is powered by Gaming1, a Brussels-based provider.
Following the May launching of French operator Betclic Everest’s sports betting site Betclic.pt, which was also followed earlier this month by Malta-based Bet Entertainment Technologies Ltd’s online sportsbook, Estoril’s online launch brings Portugal’s tally of licensed online operators to three.
Although Estoril may be considered a ‘latecomer’ to the party, it may in fact be the first to post an online profit. Casino sites are taxed at 15% of gross gaming revenue, while sports betting websites have to pay 8% tax on betting turnover; an already prohibitive rate which, once turnover tops €30 million, increases incrementally.
Brick-and-mortar casino operator Solverde, and state lottery operator Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa are among other operators which have expressed a form of interest in launching online casino sites. Due to the government’s delays in seeking European Commission approval for liquidity sharing with other EU member states, however, Portugal, may not welcome its first licensed online poker operator until November at the earliest.