Santa Casa’s gambling monopoly has come to what could be a turning point in its existence. A recent ruling in the ECJ declared that Santa Casa has the right to block the business of foreign competitors, such as Bwin, within Portugal. Financial difficulty has driven industry leaders to motion for a lift on the bans that have been enforced.
In a case against Bwin, the court ruled in favor of Santa Casa and, therefore, anchored the rights of such state gambling monopolies. A ban on league and shirt sponsorship by betting companies was then enforced. This has led to financially hard times on the account of football clubs in Portugal. These clubs are now calling for a lift on the ban that was imposed.
Pressure from the EU, football clubs, and other organizations make a lift of the ban imposed in Portugal more likely every day. The unfortunate loss of revenue to local businesses is the issue that has caused the amassing friction towards the ban.
Portuguese gambling laws direct all gambling traffic towards the Santa Casa government monopoly. Santa Casa controls all sports betting and lotteries while another government branch, Inspecção General de Jogos, controls casinos and all other forms of gambling.
Internet gambling in Portugal is regulated just as harshly as the land-based forms because, it too, falls under the jurisdiction of Santa Casa. Local ISPs are forced to block online gambling sites in Portugal that hail from abroad. These laws run counter to the EU fair trade laws, and Portugal is facing mounting pressure to conform.
Online gambling sites and football clubs alike can hope for some reform in the policies in the near future. Repeals on the bans that are in place now would serve the greater good.