After William Hill and 888 Casino, Bet365 leave the scene too. (image: http://calvinayre.com)
Earlier this year Portugal has introduced new regulations concerning online gambling which turned out to be unacceptable for most of the operators that decided to provide their services on Portuguese market. Following the trail of 888 Casino, who have decided to leave Portuguese market few weeks ago, now Bet365 are retreating as well.
Too High Expectations?
As many countries, Portugal has recognized the great potential online gambling and decided to make the best use of it as a part of the revenue system. The model they introduced was license-based, similar to the one in Italy, France and Spain. Yet, it appears that they have expected a little too much. Their ambition was to solve a great deal of their financial problems, as much as €25 million, through taxing online gambling. However, the operators found their tax rates unreasonable and unfair. The tax rates range from 15-30 percent of gross gaming revenue depending of the amount of the revenue. The operators who generate annual revenue below €5 million are subject to the tax rate of 15%. For each million above €5 million the operators would have to pay plus 3% and should the revenue amount to €10 million, the applicable tax rate would be 30 percent. As it appears, this is too much for online gaming providers.
Operators Refuse To Stay
Last week Bet365 have suspended all accounts and gave their customers two weeks to withdraw any funds they might have remaining. As an independent operator, Bet365 have decided not to accept the regulations imposed by Portuguese government. Thus they have informed all of their affiliates that they stop receiving bets from this country. Bet365 are not the only one who took this step. Few weeks ago 888 Casino have also made a decision to leave Portuguese market and stopped all marketing activity there. Before them William Hill also did the same, while BetFair did not even wait for the license application to finish, when they also announced that they are abandoning the market.
Portuguese regulators saw introduction of online gambling provisions as a way out of their financial problems, but they did not count on the possibility that the departure of leading providers will be a bigger loss for them than lower taxes.