Portuguese online casinos are casino websites aimed at customers who live in Portugal. The legal situation of online gambling in Portugal is a little confusing, thanks to government involvement and restrictions on certain types of gaming and online gaming websites.

Hundreds of online casino sites accept business from Portuguese citizens and accept the Portuguese currency (the Euro) for deposits and withdrawals, though Portuguese people may have trouble accessing some sites thanks to Portugal’s gambling laws.

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Portuguese Online Casinos Accept the Euro

The currency used in Portugal is the Euro, a currency shared by many different European nations. Luckily for Portuguese citizens, any online casino worth its salt allows transactions in Euros. That’s because the Euro is used by an estimated 326 million people all over the world. Allowing deposits and withdrawals in Euros is a must for online casinos that want to attract European customers, and with the North American casino market closed to most sites, Europe is a major source of business.

It’s important for Portuguese citizens to choose legit casinos that allow them to use Euros. If you gamble at an online casino that doesn’t accept Euros, you’ll need to convert your currency every time you want to make a deposit or take money out of your player account, and these conversions add extra money and time to your transactions.

To find out if an online casino does business in Euros, check that casino’s cashier or FAQ page. Online casinos advertise their financial details prominently, and if you can’t find that information on the casino’s website, a quick call to customer service will answer your question. As an added bonus, contacting a casino’s customer service department to ask about transactions in Euros is a good way to test that site’s customer service skills before you commit to a membership.

Are Portuguese Online Casinos Legal?

Portugal is generally considered a gambling-friendly country. Portugal’s government regulates and taxes all forms of gambling in Portugal, from state-run lotteries to government-regulated online casino gambling websites. The government of Portugal works hard to provide their citizens with safe, legal gambling opportunities, even running a few online casinos and collaborating with a number of private online gambling companies to provide reliable gambling to Portuguese citizens.

Online gambling companies that want to do business with Portuguese citizens have to work hand in hand with the Portuguese government; if they do so, they’re allowed to offer gambling to players from Portugal. One strange twist in Portuguese gambling laws prohibits online gambling sites from advertising within Portugal’s borders, even if a company is allowed to provide gaming. The restriction on advertising means that gaming sites that want to attract Portuguese customers have to do so through word of mouth, bonuses & promotions, and reputation.

To understand the legality of online gambling in Portugal, you have to first understand Portugal’s strange relationship with gambling. All types of gambling are fully legal in Portugal. The government has a special group, the Games Department of Santa Casa de Misericordia, that regulates and runs what the government calls “social games”: these are games like sports betting and the lottery. That government entity, known in-country as the SCML, has a complete monopoly on all lotteries and sports betting in Portugal, meaning such gambling is state-sanctioned. Even though Portugal’s gambling laws flies in the face of European Union fair trade laws, they are still the law of the land. Just how much gambling is the government of Portugal responsible for? According to the SCML, there are 5,000 different websites and kiosks that allow bets sanctioned by the government. SCML’s monopoly is worth a lot of money to the Portuguese government.

But what about other gambling venues and other games? Those that aren’t described by the Portuguese government as “social games” are regulated by a different government group. Games like bingo, poker, and all casino gambling titles are regulated by the Inspecção Geral de Jogos, Portuguese for the Inspector General of Games.  Casinos in Portugal must be granted a gaming license by the Portuguese government in order to obey the law. The government makes these licenses hard to earn; as of this writing, only 10 licenses have been issued by the Inspector General. Any table game or gambling machine that operates outside of legitimate government-approved casinos is illegal.

The legality of online gambling in Portugal is controlled by the more liberal SCML agency, the part of the Portuguese government that holds a monopoly on all lotteries and sports betting in Portugal. The SCML controls all legal Internet gambling in Portugal. The Portuguese government makes sure that their citizens only have access to SCML-approved casino sites by blocking all foreign online gambling sites from local ISPs.

The Future of Online Casinos in Portugal

The government of Portugal has an obvious monopoly on Internet gambling inside the country’s borders, and the government’s blockade of all foreign online gambling sites is clearly illegal under European Union fair trade laws. The Portuguese government is starting to come under pressure from the EU government: the EU wants Portugal to get rid of their monopoly and allow foreign gambling sites to gain a foothold among Portuguese citizens.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, the Portuguese government is not making any move to comply with EU fair trade laws. As long as Portugal holds a monopoly on the country’s gambling market, Portuguese citizens will be prevented from doing business with most major online gambling sites, except those that have made nice with the Portuguese government or gambling sites run by the SCML or the Inspector General of Games. The legality of online gambling sites in Portugal is not expected to change any time soon.

If you live in Portugal, it is critical to find an online casino that accepts Euros. The added expense and transaction time that comes with currency conversions is unnecessary, especially because of the sheer number of online gaming sites that accept transactions in Euros.