Portugal is to open its online gaming market to foreign operators on June 28th, the country’s Secretary of State for Tourism Adolfo Mesquita Nunes has announced.

The country's online gaming legislation has now been approved and signed by the country’s president Aníbal António Cavaco Silva and comes into force as Decree-Law No. 66/2015.

Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Mesquita Nunes confirmed that there would be no limit to the number of licenses available, and that Portugal was hoping for large international operators to enter the market.

He claimed that it would take just a few days between the launch of the technical control structure in June and the awarding of the first licences. Operators will be required to demonstrate their systems and practices are reputable, and pay financial guarantees in order to secure a licence.

Mesquita Nunes also reiterated the prediction that the launch of online gaming would generate an additional €25m in tax revenue for the government.

At the same time he dismissed criticism of the high rate of tax imposed on iGaming operators, which has been strongly criticised by industry body the Remote Gambling Association. Companies will be taxed at a rate of between 8 and 16 per cent of sports betting turnover, and between 15 and 30 per cent of casino and games revenue, leading to warnings that customers will be attracted by unlicensed sites which can offer better odds. Peer to peer betting, such as betting exchanges and cash poker, will be taxed at 15 per cent on revenue.

The RGA has gone as far as to claim that Portugal could generate an additional €20m in tax revenue if it shifted to a revenue-based system, citing a study by Pricewaterhousecoopers.

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