Portuguese Lawmakers Consider Liberalizing Online Gambling!Online gambling is at this moment a grey area in Portugal but today Portuguese lawmakers have commented that they are considering to adopt a legislation that would regulate this practice in the country.At this moment the only Portugal-based venture that is allowed to provide online gambling services is the state-owned company called Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa. With this policy Portugal is effectively breaking European Union law.Yet, up until now, the country didn’t seem to be bothered by this fact and continued to pursue this monopolistic policy trying to cut off other online gambling companies that are located in other European countries from accessing the online gambling market of Portugal.Due to the financial crisis and the country’s economic problems, Portuguese lawmakers commented today that they are seriously considering the likelihood of liberalizing the online gambling market of the country.Still, there is absolutely no reason for cheering, since at the same time some lawmakers are also suggesting to adopt an even restrictive legislation that would ban foreign online gambling companies altogether.Lawmakers have announced that at this moment there are three possibilities. The first one is a very limited form of liberalization that would allow some online gambling companies to acquire a license but would still offer a considerable advantage and monopoly for the state-owned gambling venture.The second option which is proposed by some politicians as well as by the Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa online gambling venture is to maintain the status quo and fight against foreign online gambling companies in order to protect the interests of the state-run gambling venture. The last possibility which is unfortunately only supported by a minority of politicians is the full liberalization of online gambling in the country. This would mean that there would be no restrictions on which companies would be allowed to acquire an online gambling license.At this moment it appears that the first variant is the one that is supported by a majority. Many operators and gambling observers comment that the option in question will make it virtually impossible for most operators to acquire a license. Right now foreign online gambling companies are not allowed to acquire a license in Portugal. However they are allowed to offer online gambling services in Portugal and it’s legal for Portuguese players to play at these foreign gambling ventures.Based on the above, if the first possibility is adopted, then it will be the players who will draw the shortest straw. This is due to the fact that only an extremely limited number of operators will be able to offer casino games while most others will be banned.
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