Legal regime

Legal regime

The Portuguese Government has recently approved the Online Gambling and Betting Legal Regime (OLR) through the approval of Decree-Law 66/2015, April 29, which defines the terms and conditions for the operation and practice of online games of chance and betting in Portugal.
The OLR's legal framework contains principles and legal solutions that include: the mandatory requirements for obtaining licenses; the duties and obligations of all operators; and the definitions of types of crimes and offences related to illicit operation of online games of chance and bets. These are the values to be preserved when the Portuguese State regulates for the first time the online gambling and betting.

You can see the English version of the Decree-Law here.

Check the first change to RJO, introduced by Law No. 13/2017, of May 2, here (document in Portuguese)

Check the second change to RJOintroduced by Law No. 101/2017, of August 28, here (document in Portuguese)

Check the third change to RJO, introduced by Law No. 114/2017, of December 29, here (document in Portuguese)

Check the fourth change to RJO, introduced by Law No. 49/2018, of August 14, here. (document in Portuguese)

Check the fifth change to RJO, introduced by Decree Law No. 84/2019, of June 28, here. (document in Portuguese)

Check the sixth change to RJOintroduced by Law No. 2/2020, of March 31, here. (document in Portuguese)

You can see the Administrative Rule that sets fee amounts according to the OLR here.  (document in Portuguese)

Fundamental principles of the approved regulations:
  • Protection of minors and vulnerable people preventing excessive and unregulated gambling and addictive behaviors and practices;
  • Fighting fraud and money laundering, ensuring security and public order;
  • Prevention of criminal behaviors in online gambling activities;
  • Ensuring the integrity of sports activities preventing and fighting bet rigging associated to manipulation of sport events results.

Decree-Law 66/2015 comes into effect on June 28th, 2015. From that date onward, any entity that meets the OLR requirements may request attribution of a license to operate online games of chance and betting. Attribution of this license is therefore not exclusive.

The approved legal regime presents a competitive and market-friendly model.

Licenses for the operation of online gambling and betting are granted for a 3-year period to all entities that meet the legal requirements of trustworthiness as well as technical, economic and financial capacity. Licenses may be requested at any moment, and there is no set limit to how many can be attributed.

The approved regulation also covers a wide set of games and bets — all games of chance (including baccarat, blackjack/21, bingo, poker and roulette), fixed-odds sports betting and horse racing betting (mutual and fixed-odds) – in order to grant more competitiveness to the regulated Portuguese market making it more attractive through the potential offer diversification.

Finally, the respect for the application and the assurance of compliance of the online gambling and betting legal framework is enforced through the Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service, which has been restructured and redefined and granted true powers of control, inspection and regulation, which give this entity the necessary tools to effectively face the challenges posed by this new type of market. 

In line with the experience shared by other European countries, we are aware of the fast paced mutations that occur in this activity as well as the need to adapt its legal framework to the new realities and demands that are a result of the operation of online gambling and betting. For this  reason, there is a legal requirement for a re-evaluation of the OLR and its control, inspection and regulation model within 2 years counting from the date of issue of the first license.
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