The most popular sport in Portugal is, without doubt, football. Obviously when the talk goes to football Cristiano Ronaldo is the player that comes in our mind as he dramatically influenced both the Portuguese and European scenes. Besides the generous list of personal records, Ronaldo also lead Portugal to their very first European Championship title in 2016. So, it goes without saying that Portuguese punters are all about football and around 40% of all male adults bet on sports frequently. The betting sites available in Portugal are regulated by the Serviço de Regulação Inspeção de Jogos. Despite harsh regulations, there are many football betting sites in Portugal to choose from and we’re going to help you pick the best ones. Before we jump to more details regarding the top online betting sites in Portugal, you should also know that the market registered an impressive 24% growth in 2018 compared to 2017, so it’s the best timing to get into online sports betting.
Betting sites in Portugal have been a part of everyday life for a very long time. However, the first steps towards regulating the landscape and establishing rules were made in 1961 with the establishment of the Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa. A charity foundation with religious roots that had the right to organise betting and gambling activities, donating their profits to various social campaigns.
For a long period of time, there was no need to update the gambling and betting regulations. However, as soon as the betting sites allowed in Portugal entered the online environment, the old laws and regulations were not enough anymore. So, starting 2003, through the Legislative Decree 282,SCML was also granted a license to operate online. Not only did SCML begin to offer online services, but all other companies wanting to do the same were prohibited to do so. The operators that still offered their services to Portuguese punters go their IPs banned and a total monopoly was put in place by the authorities.
However, as these regulations were deemed to be unfair by the European Commission and with pressure from the big betting lobby groups, the legislation in Portugal changed in 2015. The Decree-Law number 66 organised the legal framework for online betting. All the betting sites that work in Portugal have to apply for a license issued by the Serviços de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos. And although many steps were taken towards a liberalized market, the bookies that had their IPs banned in the past are no longer able to apply for a license and Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Lisboa still receives preferential treatment through taxes up to 50% lower than what the other bookies have to pay.
There are 8 legal betting sites in Portugal at the moment and despite some big names being available, punters are still seeking better odds and rewards at international sportsbooks that don’t have a license.
No matter if we’re talking about licensed bookies or the best betting sites in Portugal operating without a license, there are certain aspects that will win the hearts of Portuguese punters. Of course, high, profitable odds are always welcome. However, besides that, a good bookie must also deliver a vibrant offer of football betting markets, offer the website translated in Portugues and also ensure that customer support is available in the local language as well. And while the licensed betting sites Portugal offers will deliver this as part of their licensing compliance, the others are doing it so that they stand out from the crowd.
It goes without saying that the best sports betting sites in Portugal are the foreign ones. Local bookies are constantly making efforts to offer the same quality and diversity, however, they are still falling short. Luckily though, for those punters that don’t want to play at unlicensed sportsbooks, some big names in the industry applied for a Portuguese license. You can visit Betano or Betclic if you want to experience the best betting sites Portugal has to offer.
Alternatively, you can use a VPN to get by the IP restrictions in place for many world-class bookies and enjoy the flawless services they offer. Despite the upgrade in odds, playing at foreign bookmakers also brings you a more rewarding experience as these bookies do not have to abide by the bonus-restrictions licensed operators are forced to apply. You should know right from the start that there are no legal repercussions for doing so.
Just like before, we need to split the discussion. On one hand you have the online betting sites in Portugal that operate with a licensed issued by the SRIJ where you won’t encounter any payment restrictions whatsoever. Depositing instantly with a wide array of payment options like credit and debit cards, ewallets, vouchers or bank transfer apps is fast and easy. Multibanco, the local bank transfer payment option is also available at licensed Portugal betting sites and punters can use the ATM network to top-up their accounts.
On the other hand, the foreign bookies operating without a license can be hit with some restrictions. For example, paying with a credit or debit card issued by a Portuguese bank may not work. The same goes for direct bank transfers and that’s why you should stick with bet sites with Paysafecard Portugal offers. Increased privacy and anonymity can be obtained by using ewallets, Multibanco-issued temporary cards or cryptocurrency as well.
Now, that we’ve answered the are there bookmakers in Portugal questions, let’s take a look at betting exchanges. Due to the harsh regulations and high tax rates, no betting exchanges have applied for a license in Portugal. However, if you want to enjoy the higher odds and the possibility to bet against or alongside other punters, you can do so using the same approach as with any other foreign bookie. Using a VPN software should grant you quick access to any betting exchange with no risk at all.
If the bookie is licensed in Portugal, you should directly address the SRIJ for any misunderstanding that wasn’t solved by the support department. Otherwise, if the bookmaker is not licensed in the country, you should reach out for the regulatory authority of the given website. You can always contact us in case you need to solve a dispute with a bookmaker and we’ll help with making your voice heard.