Portuguese (SRIJ) Licensed Online Casinos

All online Casinos with an Portuguese (SRIJ) Gambling License

Introduction to Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service

Portuguese (SRIJ) Licensed Online Casinos

It is not odd for a country to allow gambling as a means to boost its tourism, and Portugal is also one of those nations.

The country’s GDP accounts for almost 0.50% of its total income from gambling alone.

And, if projections are to be believed, this is just going to become more prominent in coming years.

In this article, we take a look at Portugal’s gambling history and various laws and regulations that make it a safe sphere for betting and players across the territory.

Portugal is a country with 10 zones of gambling which we will learn about soon.

Political State

As a political state, its boundaries lie inside Europe, making it a southern country on the continent. It is located on the coast of the Iberian Peninsula and borders Spain, another heaven for online and land-based casinos. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, its weather is great around the year making it a great spot for tourists worldwide.

It has influenced many cultures, and sardines, and Algarve’s beaches are also famous worldwide. Its infrastructure dates back to its heyday of gambling, trade, exchange, maritime exploration, and colonialism from the 1500s to 1600s. With a population of just over 10 million and using EURO as its currency, it feeds the Euro-continent with much fanfare.

Portugal’s History of Gambling

Exploring the history of betting and gambling in this European nation takes us back hundreds of years. This is the home of Luis Figo, trophy superstar Christiano Ronaldo, Portugal is mad for football. And this takes advantage of its gambling spirit too. Although betting has been around for hundreds of years and is a part of its culture, contemporary legalized betting began very recently with the inception of SCML.

The Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa (SCML) began operating pooled betting avenues across the country and this led to mainstream gambling as we know it today. Because of this, you can find various types of gambling sports and activities all around the country. It was not until 2003 that new legislation expanded the role of SCML and allowed it to do more than before.

Because of this new legislation, online casinos, gambling websites, and internet and web betting also became legalized and regulated by the body. The early 200s were very dull in this respect though and SCML was an exclusive licensee. Today, SRIJ or Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service (Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos) is the leading authority in this respect.

The Beginnings of Gambling in Portugal

As we know, ancient gambling and betting were not just culture in Portugal but Europe as a whole. And, in 2020 Casino Lisboa owned by Estoril-Sol which is a company owned majorly by another Hong-Kong giant Stanley Ho is a big brand in the country. And, there are several such casinos and online avenues today, which have licenses from various regulatory bodies resulting in good options.

Mobile gambling and mobile casinos have allowed all forms of gambling from matches, slots, jackpots, table games, and even live casinos today. A great old casino with roots in 1977 is Casino da Pova, located in Varzim in Portugal. It has been a gaming and entertainment venue since the 1930s but had a modern gambling-inspired atmosphere since 1977. It is even listed by Portugal’s institute of national monuments.

Here the table games most popular as a historical record are Banca Francesa, Roulette, and Baccarat. So, the history of gambling in Portugal is rich in its culture and makes up for a variety of entertainment for the masses.

The upper-middle class of Portugal began the new revolution in today’s contemporary gambling. They were settled in Northern Portugal on the beaches of Povoa and before the popularisation of sun baths, this was the general and prominent location for gambling. It was famous for its Garnier inspiration and style.

To learn about how the gambling bodies and regulatory establishments made today’s contemporary laws, we get some in-depth knowledge of it in the section below.

Portugal’s Gambling Regulatory Body

As we learned that the early 2000s didn’t quite liberalize the gambling and gaming industry, and SCML was the exclusive license holder to operate online and offer internet betting. However, in the following decade, several online gambling sites became increasingly popular and many betting brands began to become household names.

They started offering their services in Portugal, under wraps and despite the strict monopoly of the giants. So, either the betting platforms gained entry through the Portuguese court system or continued to offer their services to the market even after being dismissed by the court.

Today, there are two major bodies responsible for all the gambling activities, and we shall soon learn more about them. The Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service of Portugal hold the power to directly control every aspect, and the Gambling Commission of Portugal supervises the activities of the above body. We shall soon learn about the activities of the above two bodies.

1. Gambling Commission Duties

As mentioned above, this sole body oversees the operations of the current regulatory gambling body called the SRIJ. It details the following:

  • Issues mandatory instructions and recommendations.
  • Technical support to the police department in case of unlawful cases.
  • Curbs illegal practices in case of territorial-based games.
  • Developing administrative tools.
  • Punishment of illegal online gambling practices as well as gambling advertisements.

2. Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service Duties

The primary body responsible for the regulation of gambling takes the following responsibilities.

  • Issues licenses for online gambling and betting, as well as regulations and guidelines for them.
  • Monitors compliance of concessions based on territorial-based games.
  • Rulings of administrative proceedings, punishments, crimes, cases.
  • Approval of manuals for code of conduct, including all categories of gambling, sports, betting, lotteries, horse racing, football, and various definitions and types.
  • Definition of assets and value deposits owed by gambling establishments and online gambling companies.
  • Approve online gambling systems and technical equipment.
  • Monitoring and implementing orders, audits, inquiries, financial taxes, and so on.

One must note that these regulations and responsibilities are undertaken by the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service, and are delivered by 4 departments and a head Director. These are as follows.

  1. Planning and Control
  2. Online Gambling
  3. Gambling Projects Management
  4. Gambling Regulation

Gambling Laws in Portugal: From Past to Present

The gambling policies and laws in Portugal date back centuries. In fact, in the Middle Ages when Casas de Tavolagem gambling houses were run by garters. But, during the period of Afonso IV around 1325-57, these were prohibited and banished. Government repression was the main cause behind this, till the 1900s.

And, the consequences of gambling could even lead to the death penalty in many cases. It was at the end of the 17th century that lotteries were introduced but they earned a permanent legal status only in 1946. Thus, passion for gambling was always a part of their culture in Portugal, and gambling laws were in place through informal or formal decrees in some way or other.

In 1927, after years of public discourse, arguments, and proposals the first of Portugal’s gambling laws were introduced in the country. The first gambling law enacted was Decree No 14463 of December 1927, and it stated that a “necessary evil” concept was introduced and acknowledged the facts of the time.

It stated that repressive laws that existed till today could not fight it and to reduce illegal gambling and betting, some parts should be made legal. This could protect the stakeholders, minimise the negative effects of gambling and safeguard family interests.

Land-Base Casinos in Portugal

So, land-based gambling laws were introduced in Portugal. The Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service was not even a thing back then but these small steps could be granted success in that direction. So, despite the evolution of gambling the way it happened in the country, the state considered the activity from repression to tolerance, and then to legalisation over several hundred years.

In the early 19th century, in line with the rest of Europe, summer season laws were introduced and this saw an increase in gambling especially due to tourism. This was especially true for the coastal regions of the country. Today, this legacy holds and many of the country’s most popular land-based casinos are in the coastal regions.

The first law of this type was defined in the Decree-Law No 422/89 on 2nd December 1989 and also is the precursor of the modern (Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service) shortly called Portuguese Gambling Law. This made several public policies such as below.

  1. It allowed for limited concessions and gaming in reserved states with limited liberalisation.
  2. The activities should be profitable to the state.
  3. It should focus on the development of entertainment to boost tourism.
  4. Attract more tourists to feed the economy of the state.

Among state and private controlled enterprises, as of 2023, there are around 11 licences for fixed odds online betting and many more gambling avenues. The Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service manages its operations and adheres to the above four rules. Let us see how this came into being.

State and National Gambling Laws

The state laws and national laws can decide on the various concessions for gambling enterprises and the general principle is that land-based gambling is reserved for state and private entities only. They can allow a concession as gambling is regulated at the national level only. Two autonomous regions in Portugal, Azores and Madeira have exclusive laws for defining gaming zones.

The social state games include Euromillions, National Lottery, Scratch Cards, Pari-Mutuel Soccer Betting or Totobola, Joker, Totoloto, and so on. Because of this, land-based casinos and sports betting have exclusive rights by Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa.

Online casinos and online gambling have no maximum number of licences and any entity can apply for the same. Any stock company registered in the EU or EEA Member State that complies with anti-money laundering laws and legislations, with a branch in Portugal can get a licence.

Gaming, both online and land-based, are regulated and licensed nationally by the state. The rules for bingo and social games cover the entire nation. Ancillary forms of games like contests, tombolas, advertising, quizzes, and so on are enacted under Decree-Law 98/2018.

Offshore Gambling Laws

As to gambling laws for offshore gambling, it is illegal for operators located in other countries to offer internet gambling to locals in Portugal without obtaining a licence first. In that regard, the current authority Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service or SRIJ reserves the sole right to block any such illegal websites and the offering of such gaming from overseas is considered a crime under Section IV. Below is a list of major gambling laws as of 2023 in the state of Portugal.

  • Decree-Law No 310/2002 approves approved installation of entertainment machines like slots and is an operation.
  • Decree-Law No 66/2015 after several amendments to earlier 2002 law, made a legal framework for the operation of online gambling and betting websites.
  • Decree-Law No 31/2011 resulted in amendments to the 2015 law and approved a legal framework for the operation of bingo outside primary land-based casinos and gambling areas. In 2011, amendment No 38/2011 regulated the same.
  • Decree-Law of 422/89 enacted as Portuguese Gaming Law legalised a framework for the operation of casino games inside land-based establishments.
  • In 2017, Law No 83/2017 established laws against funding casino funds for terrorism and money laundering.
  • In 2006, Law No 8/2006 established the primary conditions for hiring and accessing casino dealers, staff, and operators.
  • Order No 50/2012 regulated the profession in the tourism industry to generate profitable revenues.

They are all enacted by the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service and overseen by Gambling Commission.

Portugal SRIJ Gambling Licence Provisions

There are several gaming zones, types of gaming, and more to practice the diverse portfolio of gambling licences and provisions for both offshore and local companies. So, depending on the type of company and betting avenues you want to offer, you must look for the specific system and licence from the concerned authority. Some may be municipal, and others may be national.

As noted, the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service or SRIJ is a part of Portugal’s Tourism Department and is under the authority of the Secretary of State for Tourism, and it has both technical and functional powers and autonomy to carry out those functions described above. The authority of the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity, and Social Security undertakes regulation of the National Lottery. And land-based sports betting.

Under the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service, 10 gaming zones in the country apply to land-based gambling. These include several known regions like Algrave, Azores, Estoril, Madeira Islands, Povoa do Varzim, Porto Santo and so on. The fact is these are allowed to offer licences for bingo rooms, which should be located in different municipalities, subject to concessions. Further, these can only obtain licences from SCML or Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, as mentioned above.

Remote Gambling Licenses 

Remote gambling licences are issued for other varieties of gambling opportunities. But, in the case of strictly online, there is no such specific definition for where the wager should take place, making it great for online gamers located anywhere. The licences are issued under monitoring by the Online Gaming Regime because it applies to the whole of Portugal.

These games can only be offered by licensed operators. All licensed operators must-have websites termed as .pt and operate in online betting only. They cannot offer gambling services outside Portugal if they are based in the territory. But, some of them who have multiple licences from Curacao, as well as Malta, are exempt from these rules.

Player Protection

There are various sanctions and legal prosecution for non-compliance with the rules regarding gambling. Because of these issues, any breach of duties by both land-based casinos and online gambling companies, player protection is ensured by SRIJ or Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service.

It is an administrative infringement of legal and contractual agreements and can lead to both penalties or fines and termination of a contract. The directors are liable for making compensatory payments and concessions are liable even to the employees. Under the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service and Gaming Law, certain acts practised by the gaming commissionaires may lead to such punishments.

Suspension of casino licence, termination of services, evasion of gaming rules, breach of share capital, legal requirements, abandonment of defective gaming machines, repeated failure of gaming law and compliance to them, delay in payment of taxes, and so on. These termination and suspension verdicts are decided by the Council of Ministers and fines up to EURO 25,000 may be enforced during such cases.

Similarly, the case of online gambling is also very serious and has several levels of penalties and prosecution resulting from various levels of malpractices. So, online gambling is much more comprehensive and undertakes criminal, misdemeanour, administrative failures, and more.

Additional sanctions may also be imposed after the completion of one that includes a ban for a period of up to five years resulting from betting fraud, online gambling fraud, and illegal operations. Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service SRIJ divided them into three categories, making them very elaborate and specific at the same time.

Obtaining a Gambling Licence in Portugal

As for obtaining an online casino licence, the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service is responsible for issuing them at a higher level. The right to operate online games and bets is reserved with the state only. So, the criteria to award a licence are based on the type of company, incorporation, and financial and territorial capacities. So, as mentioned above only joint-stock companies based in EU or EEU member states are eligible for applying for a licence.

To obtain a licence, an applicant must comply with the following norms.

  • Regularise their taxes in Portugal or the specific state in which they are located.
  • Be suitable and technical and have the required financial capacity.
  • Submit an outline of the game’s type, technical details, capacity, and so on, Details on software, design, rules, best practices, and more.
  • Comply with elements listed in Article 13 of the Online Gaming Regime.

They must have adequate financial capacity and autonomy, own funds a 100 multiple of investing into the company and have a minimum ratio of 35% in yearly balance. Under this issuance of a licence that will be governed by the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service, they shall submit a fee of EUR 500,000 which is a one-time affair.

This will secure the legal obligations, and further for the payment of patrons, they must submit a payment of EUR 100,000 as special taxes. These are for a three-year renewal period only.

Portugal SRIJ Certified Casinos

This is the sole responsibility of the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service or SRIJ. And, in the following list, we detail the various certified and licensed operators.

888 Portugal Ltd

The brand 888 Casino is a worldwide name that offers online gambling, slots, jackpots, and much more. Because of its Licence 016 verifying games of chance like slot machines, poker, Hold’em, and more, it can legally operate in Portugal. SRIJ gives them authority and endorses them at 888 pt with an extension awarded recently.

Kaizen Gaming International

The brand Betano is also endorsed by the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service for offering its services in the gambling sector including more than half a dozen 017 and 018 licences for fixed-odds betting, sports betting, and slots.

GM Gaming Ltd

It is a brand known as Betway and is one of the world’s most popular names. The SRIJ or Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service also endorses them with a licence of 021 and 022 for offering gambling services under fixed-odds sports betting, games of chance like blackjack, and slot machines too.

Luckia Portugal S.A

Under the brand name Luckia, this company is awarded licences 014 and 015 by the Portuguese Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service for offering fixed-odds sports betting, and slot machines with double licence extensions currently active in Portugal.

Portuguese (SRIJ) Licensed Online Casinos FAQ

Yes, for both land-based and online casinos.

It starts at Euro 500,000 for licensing plus other charges.

SRIJ is the sole autonomous body for gambling licenses.

Last Updated on 09/01/2023

Vladimir Janevski
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