A couple of years ago, the Gaming Regulation and Inspection Services of Portugal (SRIJ) extended the casino licenses for Estoril and Figueira da Foz due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. Now, it is time for the authority to end their permits and open the process for an international competition for the concessions.
The current operating licenses for the aforementioned casinos are set to be brought to an end on December 31st, 2022. Because of this, the regulatory body has already launched an international public tender for the casino gambling permits. The new license holders will be granted 15-year concessions, with the opportunity to have them renewed for another five years.
Interested companies will be able to file their applications for the casino licenses until mid-September. The operators that manage to impress the Gaming Regulation and Inspection Services body will be given the exclusive right to offer games of chance in their respective areas. Both foreign and domestic companies are allowed to apply, but foreign operators are required to prove they have business residency in a country in the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA). That country also needs to be a party to internationally-recognized standards that fight money laundering.
It is not necessary for applying businesses to already be part of the gambling sector.
Other Casino Licenses to Become Available for Competition in the Following Decade
The Portuguese company that owns and operates Amorim-based Casino Figueira specialized in cork products but still received the casino operating permit from its previous holder – the local gambling company Sociedade Figueira Praia. The other casino that will see its operating license become subject to the application process – Casino Estoril – is part of one of the most popular entities operating in the casino industry, one of the subsidiaries of SJM Holdings, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau.
Other casino licenses are set to become available in the next decade. For example, the operating permit for the Póvoa-based casino ends in 2025, along with a number of casino licenses in Algarve and Espinho. Casino licenses in Chaves and Troia are set to eventually become available after their expiration in December 2032.
Portugal has long been a destination where the retail gambling industry has flourished. However, after finalizing some overhaul of the sector and the implementation of new regulations, online gambling operations were allowed in the country. As a result, the Portuguese gambling market has started to significantly grow both in terms of brick-and-mortar operations and online services.
According to SRIJ reports, the gambling sector in the country generated record revenue estimated at over €69 million over the last three months of 2020. Its most recent report stated that licensed gambling companies accounted for gross gaming revenue worth €146.4 million over the second quarter of the current year, with the figure representing a 17% increase year on year.
For the time being, both retail and online casino operators continue to perform well, the regulator shared.