By Euro Weekly News Media • 09 February 2021 • 13:03
With Portugal’s online gaming market posting some decent results of late, one question is on everyone’s mind. Will the country reach its maturity in terms of iGaming products and how soon? The year 2020 was one of rapid growth where the increase from quarter-to-quarter activities soared repeatedly.
The first half of the year generated around €134 million in revenue, but Q3 alone added another €83 million give or take. This means that the fourth quarter, when results become available, will be much higher to begin with.
There are many factors that drive this success and that make it possible today. Yet, reaching maturity date for the Portuguese iGaming industry is not yet something that stakeholders have to worry about.
In fact, there are many new entrants, and if there is one thing that this should signal, that is the interest in all activities that are taking place today. There are several factors we ought to consider when making a decision about the future of the industry.
Partnerships are perhaps one of the easiest tells you can look into when trying to analyze the future of any gambling industry. In the case of casinos online in Portugal, there has been no shortage of iGaming deals over the past 12 months.
Various entries from leading gaming companies has shown as much. Portugal witnessed Synot, Soft2Bet, SkillOnNet, Greentube and others either enter the market or expand an already strong footprint.
Online gaming products have become popular enough in Portugal to the point where diversity is essential to keep consumers happy and provide new experiences. This has driven stakeholders to seek new additions to their portfolios, and more importantly, cooperate with brand new developers.
In this context, game developers have arrived in droves throughout 2020, albeit the country’s market has indeed cautioned a more balanced entry-strategy.
Numbers are the surest way to find out if a country’s iGaming market is close to maturity. With Portugal, the growth opportunity is immense. If you look at the numbers, in Q3, 2020, 156,000 new consumers registered for online gambling, a significant increase on the 62,000-something who registered in Q2, 2020.
What this means is that there are still many players in Portugal who are either hesitant or simply have not had the time or opportunity to participate in iGaming. This emboldens license holders who are proliferating, too.
There are some 24 operators in Portugal as of 2021, but this number could improve. Speaking of numbers, Portugal is definitely going to have a very strong year in 2020, simply because the pandemic made it so that revenue has been going up.
The increase in revenue indicates that Portugal definitely has a lot of leeway to go when it comes to boosting and improving results. The pandemic-driven iGaming revenue will not hold in late 2021, unless the lockdown is extended all throughout the year, which is an unlikely scenario.
The industry will lose some of its clout in 2021, particularly in terms of raw numbers. We will need at least several months to be able to tell if the numbers will remain higher than their pre-pandemic counterparts, but either way, maturity in Portugal has not been reached so far as iGaming goes.
Of course, before deciding on how mature an industry is, you ought to ask yourself if the regulation is up to speed. In Portugal, more so than other places, regulatory frameworks are up to standard.
In fact, you can argue that regulation is precisely what other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom and Germany are working on. This gives Portugal an important advantage, as it doesn’t have to worry about re-regulating gambling in future.
Of course, amendments may be passed to bring better results around, but this is not necessarily a full-scale overhaul of the industry, but rather some recommendations. This aside, iGaming in Portugal is definitely not at maturity date yet.
If anything, we will need at least several more years to see the first signs of a significant slow-down. The pandemic’s numbers should disappear well by mid-2022, allowing us all to have a look at the real face of iGaming in the country.
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