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Gambling Law in Portugal – Proxy Gaming

Gambling Law in Portugal – Proxy Gaming

Gambling laws differ all around Europe and the regulations are also constantly changing. If you are a resident of Portugal and love to gamble, the good news is that regulated online gambling is perfectly legal in Portugal. There are several online casinos that hold the Portuguese gambling license and will let you play with peace of mind. But what if you want to play at a casino that doesn’t hold a Portuguese license? Can you do that?

In this piece, we are discussing this issue with a Portuguese online gaming expert, Martim Nabeiro. Martim is an enthusiastic player himself and he knows the industry inside and out. So read on to learn more.

Online Gambling in Portugal

Land-based and online casinos have a very favorable situation in Portugal. Unlike in many other EU countries where gambling is the monopoly of the state (e.g. Norway, Hungary, Poland, or Finland) in Portugal, online casinos can apply for a Portuguese license even if they were incorporated abroad.

Getting the license can take some time though and the taxes that casino operators have to pay are quite high (15-30% depending on the type of game). For this reason, many big operators decided against getting a Portuguese license. Yet, there are over a dozen Portuguese and international online casinos that did get the license and you will find these listed on sites such as casino portugal.

Casino licenses are issued by the Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ) and online casinos that get licences, have to comply with several measures including strict anti-money laundering legislation. The gambling law in Portugal requires casinos to use the Portuguese domain on these sites and requires that these sites are available in the Portuguese language. Also, local payment methods such as Multibanco are accepted and players will have no problems using their bank cards at these casinos.

On the other hand, the Portuguese government has been blocking foreign casino sites that have not applied for the local gambling license.

VPN Online Gambling

Gamblers whose government doesn’t allow gambling have been practicing proxy gambling for years.  In certain countries, gambling is completely illegal and players have to go around the law to enjoy their favorite pastime. For example, mainland Chinese high-rollers have been gambling in Macau casinos through a phone connection. Their helper goes into a casino and plays games (usually baccarat) at a private table asking the gambler over the phone what bet he wants to take and talking him through the outcome of each game.

A more up-to-date phenomenon that also falls into the same proxy gambling category is online gambling through a virtual private network (VPN). Basically, players who use VPN fool both the local blocking system and the casino. As a Portuguese player, you can do this as the act of gambling is not illegal but you might have difficulties cashing out if you win. Casinos that don’t accept players from certain countries will ask for proof of address at the latest when you want to cash out.

Another option that players have been taking advantage of is crypto gambling. When you deposit with cryptocurrencies, the casino is not obliged to verify your identity or address. All you need is an email address, a username and you are good to go. Blockchain-related gambling is not regulated in Portugal.

In fact, as for now, you won’t find any online casinos that hold a license from Europe (e.g. MGA or UK Gambling Commission) and accept cryptocurrencies as blockchain technology is not yet regulated in Europe. Casinos that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are normally licensed in Curacao and Costa Rica but please note that these licenses are not as reputable as the European ones.


Portugal issues local gambling licenses to online casinos. These sites are safe places to play as they are thoroughly regulated. However, nothing stops players from using VPN and playing at casino sites that don’t hold a Portuguese license.

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by Dirk DeBie // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.