Portugal Hits Record iGaming Revenue

The latest figures released by national regulator Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) have revealed that sports betting is largely responsible for fueling Portugal’s noteworthy iGaming growth in the fourth quarter of 2020. The online gambling market reached an overall revenue of €113.2 million (£96.4m/$132.7m).

The Northern Portuguese city of Porto.

Portugal’s online gambling market experienced exponential growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, largely thanks to the sports betting sector. ©QuentinMqt/Pixabay

Sports Betting Main Source of Income for Licensed Operators

The fourth quarter of 2020 saw Portugal’s online gambling market skyrocket to record heights, raking in an overall revenue of €113.2 million (£96.4m/$132.7m) — with sports betting largely to thank for the sector’s unprecedented growth.

Recent figures released by Portugal’s national gambling regulator Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) revealed how overall online revenue covering the three months leading up to December 31st, 2020 was up a whopping 74.7% from Q4 2019’s figure of €64.8 million.

It was sports betting which led the way for Portugal’s online gambling market in Q4 2020, overtaking casino games to become the main income source for licensed operators working in the country.

Overall revenue from sports betting shot up an astonishing 89.6% year-on-year, reaching a total of €64.1 million.

The SRIJ’s figures showed that Portuguese sports betters wagered a total of €345.6 million on sports in the fourth quarter of 2020, which was up 86% when compared to the same period in 2019.

Football was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular sport players bet their wagers on, accounting for an impressive 86.7% of all bets placed in Q4 2020.

Trailing behind in a distant second was basketball, covering 5.2% of all placed bets, while tennis came in third — accounting for only 4.9% of all placed bets.

Online Casino Revenue Also Saw Exponential Growth

It wasn’t just sports betting which enjoyed its time in the sun during Portugal’s extraordinary online gambling market growth during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Online casinos also experienced healthy growth during the same period, generating a total revenue of €49.1 million and representing an increase of 57.9% year-on-year, as well as the second successive quarter of growth for this sector of the iGaming market.

Consumer spending on online casinos shot up by 70%, reaching a total of €1.41 billion.

Slot games made up 71.1% of online casino bets in Q4, with roulette making up 12.6% of bets, while blackjack covered 6.4% and poker only 4.2%.

Overall spending by players gambling online during the fourth quarter of 2020 reached a total of €1.76 billion, which was up 69.2% from the same period in 2019.

New Account Registrations Also Increased

Another significant metric which Portugal’s unparalleled Q4 iGaming growth can be measured by is the number of players that registered for new accounts during the period.

The figures released by national regulator Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) also showed that approximately 293,800 new players registered for online gambling accounts in Q4 2020 — a significant increase of 79.3% compared to the same period in 2019.

An additional 10,300 people signed up for Portugal’s self-exclusion system according to the SRIJ, in which a player willingly prevents themselves from gambling further in an effort to curb problematic gambling habits, as well as gambling addiction.

The total number of players who had signed up to the country’s self-exclusion list by the end of Q4 stands at 72,400.

In terms of regulating illegal and offshore gambling, the SRIJ also revealed that it blocked access to 49 websites which had been operating online gambling without the appropriate licenses in Q4 2020.

An additional 15 sites were ordered to cease their activities in Portugal by the national regulator.

Roughly 675 blocking orders, as well as 680 notices to halt operations, have been distributed since the SRIJ began targeting unlicensed sites in June 2015.

Covid-19 Lockdown Triggered iGaming Boom in Portugal

One potential explanation for the remarkable growth experienced by Portugal’s online gambling market in the fourth quarter of 2020 could be the effects of national lockdowns triggered in response to the global spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

Observers might recall how in August 2020, figures release by national regulator Serviço Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos do Turismo de Portugal (SRIJ) also showed how online gambling revenue in Portugal rose significantly during the lockdown period, as well as over the first half of the year as a whole.

Licensed operators brought in a total revenue of €138.9 million over the first six months of 2020. 

This amount represented a rise of 44.2% compared to the revenue from the same period in 2019, and at the time marked a new gross gaming revenue record for the iGaming market in Portugal.

Sports Betting & Online Casinos Also Up During First Lockdown

As with the recently passed Q4 2020, sports betting and online casinos also saw noteworthy growth over the first six months leading up to June 30th, 2020.

Overall revenue from sports betting rose to €55.2 million, which marked a 15.9% increase compared to the amount of money generated over the same time frame in 2019.

Online casinos, however, saw its overall revenue rocket even higher, rising by 74.1% year-on-year to a total of €83.7 million.

Players wagered amounts totaling €2.53 billion over the six-month period, which in and of itself also accounted for the market’s growth. 

The amount staked by players over the period represented a year-on-year rise of 62.5%.

The Portuguese regulator Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ) themselves concluded that the closure of physical gambling locations such as casinos in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) was the main driving factor for the growth in the first half of 2020.

While figures promptly stabilized to pre-pandemic levels as the national lockdown was lifted, the arrival of a second national lockdown in October 2020 again created the conditions in which online gambling could flourish in Portugal once again.

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