The online gambling scene has seen a positive rise in revenues for the first half the year ever since mandatory lockdowns have been placed all around the EU but for the Portuguese gambling scene, H1 revenues have drastically increased. New figures from the Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ) reveal that lockdown revenues are substantially higher compared to pre-lockdown numbers with operators raking in revenue numbers amounting to £125.4m/$164.4m, up 44.2% year-on-year.
The regulator’s H1 2020 figures reveal that sports betting revenues have increased by 15.9%, to £49.89m/€55.2m, over last year’s H1 period. The figures also reveal that online casino revenues have drastically increased by 74.1% to £75.20/€83.7m, a 62.5% increase over last year’s H1 period. Online casino bets also grew proportionally with revenue, rising to £2.06/€2.29bn. On the other hand, despite sports betting revenue increase, there is a 1.5% decline of bets.
The regulator’s figures also reveal various casino stake numbers. For casino games, pre-lockdown stake numbers were £273.94/€304.9m in January and £257.41/€286.5m in February. Upon lockdown, these numbers rose to €381.8m in March, growing to £430.63/ €479.3m in April while staying as high as £420.75/€468.3m in May. These numbers dropped to £334.13/€371.9m in June, post lockdown. Online poker stakes also played its part in driving the revenue up, rising to 14.4% in April over its 9.4% contribution in February. Despite this rise, it appears that this rise is short-lived as June numbers are even lower compared to February’s numbers. The figures also reveal that online slots are the most popular game but its numbers have declined to 63.3% in April, compared to its 69.9% of stake contribution in January and 74.4% in February. As for June’s post lockdown figures, online slots is still popular as it has risen back up to 69.9%
The regulator has noted that the increase in the volume of stake on online games was observed in different types of games, keeping the relative weight of each game stable over the study period.
The regulator also noted that despite the increase in revenue, there was no significant increase in new account registrations during the lockdown period. Registrations peaked in March, about 60,000, but dropped off as the lockdown period progressed, 53,200 in April, and 33,500 in May.
Though there is a significant boost in revenue during this period, June revenue numbers are already returning to pre-pandemic levels. In line with all these data, the regulator has concluded that the closure of casinos has significantly contributed to the increased volume of online gambling. However, these significant increases have gradually stabilised and are now approaching pre-pandemic values. The regulator also commented that its figures indicate that players prefer to bet in regulated and controlled environments because even though they are used to brick and mortar play areas, players choose legal online sites instead.
As of June 30, Portugal has seen a rise in gambling operators compared to 2019 as it has licensed 23 online gambling operators, up from 18, that offer either sports betting or casino games.