Ivo Doroteia, CEO of Sportingtech, looks at the growing prominence of Portugal’s betting market and the country’s prospects for becoming an established presence in Europe
The Portuguese market is one that has often operated in the shadow of its neighbor, Spain. With good reason: a much larger country, it possesses a player base that dwarfs Portugal’s and has always historically been further ahead in terms of regulating online gambling.
Prospects for a narrowing of the gap between the two came following the introduction of a regulated online framework in 2015, though optimism for positive change in Portugal was initially met with skepticism in equal measure. The naysayers were inevitably proved wrong; today, market growth is clear to see, with several high-profile operators performing well in the region, even in comparison to other, much larger European countries.
From my perspective, this was expected – Portugal’s land-based industry has always been robust, with bricks-and-mortar casinos consistently displaying good numbers for the likes of lottery and bingo, and the renaissance of sports betting is just another string to the market’s bow.
These past 18 months have seen a dramatic shift in fortunes for the Portuguese market – figures from Q4 2020 onwards show strong growth for gambling in the country, with sports betting leading the charge. The growth can be attributed to a number of factors, including Covid-induced lockdowns benefiting the shift from land-based to online and a changing of fiscal policies in 2020 removing the higher rates of tax for betting and gaming.
Whatever the cause, it is clear today that the presence of top-tier industry players now makes Portugal an extremely attractive proposition indeed, and no one is better positioned to take advantage of this fact than Sportingtech, with its extensive knowledge of the market and varied range of leading sports betting platforms.
Portugal is a country with sports at its heart, and now it has an effective means to bet on it. Questions have been raised about the long-term viability of this growth, some suggesting that a post-lockdown world will revert to type, with land-based betting once again taking precedent.
I disagree with this sentiment – the ingredients for sustained success are very much present in Portugal and I see no reason to suggest that this market will be anything other than a bastion for sports betting on the worldwide stage. The difficult battle, acquisition, has already been won – retention is now the market’s key directive. Sportingtech’s Quantum platform is expertly placed to assist in this – Quantum Power, for instance, is designed to improve and boost both player acquisition and retention and is a fully localized product, featuring open APIs for full integration and customization.
The sharp increase in numbers will level out in time, but this is to be expected. What the market must do to future-proof the progress it has made is provide stability with robust and scalable platforms. This, combined with high-quality content and good UI/UX, will provide a workable framework for a continuation of current trends. This would, in turn, attract even more tier-one operators who, once established with a tried-and-true platform like Quantum, could fuel the second wave of growth.
Online gambling in Portugal has now established itself, and emphatically so. While proceeding with caution, the market must take constructive steps to solidify its position as a potential cornerstone of the European industry. Putting faith in the platforms that have already proved they are worthy of fuelling growth, such as Quantum, is one such step. The stage is set for this market to truly make its mark on the betting industry: underestimate it at your peril.