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News & MediaThe Legal Landscape of Online Gambling and Betting

21 de May, 2024

Online gambling and betting has proliferated all over the world over the last decade. In view of the recognized investment opportunities and the creation of true digital markets and ecosystems, it is important to take a closer look at the main legal concerns that online gambling and betting operators must consider when offering their services in Portugal.

Starting with the administrative side, it is through licensing that the terms under which the activities of each operator will be carried out are established, giving credibility to the systems they offer and accrediting them within players. Decree-Law 66/2015 of 29 April (Legal Framework for Online Gambling and Betting) states that it is the responsibility of the Gambling Regulation and Inspection Service (SRIJ) to award, issue, extend, suspend and revoke licenses for the operation of online gambling and betting.

At the compliance level, it is important to ensure full obedience with the applicable legal rules (which are scattered throughout various legislative diplomas), and it is also important to follow the guidelines and directives issued by the bodies responsible for monitoring and inspecting the activities of these operators. This is one of the steps that deserves the most attention, as high fines/sanctions can be imposed in the event of non-compliance.

When it comes to advertising, this must be done in a socially responsible way, respecting the protection of minors and other vulnerable and at-risk groups, favoring the recreational aspect of gambling and betting and not belittling non-players. Namely, not appealing to aspects of easy winning, not suggesting success, social success or special skills as a result of gambling, nor encouraging excessive gambling or betting practices, always with consumer protection in mind. In addition to the Legal Framework for Online Gambling and Betting, we can also find precepts in this regard in Decree-Law 330/90 of 23 October (Advertising Code), which are generally compiled in the SRIJ’s Manual of Good Practices on Gambling and Betting Advertising.

Turning to AML/FT (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism) issues, operators must implement KYC (Know Your Costumer) procedures to verify the identity of players and are obliged to report suspicious transactions related to money laundering and other illicit activities to the competent authorities. Also related to the collection of information from its players, the matter of the processing and protection of their data must be taken into account, and specifically the compliance with the rules of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and other applicable legislation.

As for cross-border transactions, online gambling and betting operators often operate in multiple jurisdictions, creating complex legal challenges such as conflicts of jurisdiction and compliance with international agreements. A clear example is the taxation of these activities, the framework of which requires a thorough understanding of the sector and the legislation in which they operate.

Understanding the legal issues surrounding online gambling and betting is fundamental to ensuring that the ever-growing industry operates fairly and safely. With regulations varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, it is crucial that operators are aware of the rights, duties and responsibilities involved, and only by recognizing and addressing these legal challenges can a more transparent and reliable industry be promoted, benefiting all parties involved.

por Ricardo Cardoso e Gonçalo Oliveira Martins, Área de Prática – Desporto, Moda e Entretenimento
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