Casinos in Portugal allowed to reopen

All casinos in Portugal can now open.
All casinos in Portugal can now open.

Casinos in Portugal were allowed to reopen from Saturday, including those in “high-risk” areas for Covid-19 such as Lisbon and Porto.

Portugal.- Casinos and bingo halls in all areas of Portugal have been allowed to reopen. Customers will need to present a vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test to enter.

Some casinos in Portugal had already been allowed to reopen, but those in 116 municipalities currently deemed as high-risk for Covid-19 transmission remained closed. That included venues in the two largest cities, Lisbon and Porto.

They have now been allowed to open at the weekend under an order published by the Minister of Economy in the Official Gazette on Friday (July 23). Customers will only be allowed to remain in venues if they are playing or consuming food and drink.

The official order reads: “The establishments offering games of chance, casinos, bingo halls or similar have demonstrated the ability to assume strict compliance with the rules and health and safety measures.

“The operation of gambling establishments, casinos, bingos or similar located in high risk and very high-risk municipalities is allowed provided that they comply with the guidelines and instructions defined for these activities by the Directorate-General for Health and the other general conditions provided for in the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 74-A/2021 of 9 June.”

In terms of testing, casinos will accept the same four types of tests already accepted for admission to hotels and restaurants. Workers, suppliers or service providers are exempt from presenting a certificate or negative test. 

According to the Gaming Regulation and Inspection Service, there are 12 casinos and gaming halls in Portugal. The main casinos in Lisbon and Estoril are controlled by the Estoril Sol Group.

Other major players include the Solverde Group with casinos in Espinho near Porto, Chaves in the north and in the Algarve; Amorim Turismo, linked to Jorge Armindo with the Figueira Casino, ITI on the island of Madeira and Romanti in the Azores.

Portuguese online gaming revenue rockets

While casinos have been closed, online gaming revenue in Portugal has soared. Online revenue was up 74.7 per cent year-on-year in the last quarter of 2020, reaching €113.2m. The rise was mainly driven by sports betting activity, which saw revenue rise 89.6 per cent year-on-year to €64.1m.

Last September, the Poruguese casino operator Solverde Group was granted a licence to offer online sports betting.

Meanwhile, UK-based gaming giant Entain (formerly GVC) re-entered the Portuguese market by buying online betting operator – a move that contributed to strong first-half results for Entain.

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