Portugal: Online gaming up and land-based gaming down in Q1 2021 revenue indicators

The numbers announced by local regulator SRIJ reflect the typical variations due to the pandemic. Online GGR escalated 82.6% in relation to Q1 2020, while physical gaming declined 90.3% compared to that period.

Players prefer online betting on football and casino slot machines. There was also a 12.1% increase in registered players and +18.9% in self-excluded players for this quarter, compared to Q4 2020.
Players prefer online betting on football and casino slot machines. There was also a 12.1% increase in registered players and +18.9% in self-excluded players for this quarter, compared to Q4 2020.

Yesterday, Gaming Inspection & Regulation Service (SRIJ in Portuguese), the regulatory body belonging to the Ministry of Tourism of Portugal, shared main stats of local land-based and iGaming market for the first quarter of this year.

About land-based gaming (activity practiced in casinos, as well as slots and bingo halls), this segment generated approximately €6 million GGR for Q1 2021, representing a reduction of 83.2% compared to the previous quarter, and a fall of approximately 90.3% compared to the same period of the last year. A great part of this decrease was due to a poor performance of gaming in automatic machines, niche that represents around 86.55% of total gross revenue.

In a monthly perspective, GGR reached the highest value in January 2021, with around €5 million, followed by the months of March and February, with around €495,000 and €414,000, respectively. These monthly values ​​in Q1 2021 were much lower from the ones of Q1 2020, with -81.3% in January, -98.4% in March and -94.7% in February.

With regards of different land-based games, and compared to the same period of the previous year, there was a drop in gross revenue in all types of games of 93.3%, 96.7% and 91.6%, respectively, in banked and non-banked games, and on automatic machines.


When considering online gaming activity in Portugal during Q1 2021, the situation was completely the opposite than the one from land-based gaming, due to the pandemic and the corresponding confinement of people in their homes.

On March 31st, 2021, 15 entities were authorized to carry out the activity of exploiting online gaming and betting in Portugal, two more in relation to the same period of 2020. Altogether, those entities held 25 licenses (11 licenses to operate sports betting with odds and 14 licenses to operate games of chance). During Q1 2021, iGaming and betting produced around €128.3 million in GGR, an increase of €58 million (+82.6%) compared to the same period of 2020, and €15 million more than the previous quarter (+13.3%).

In terms of money raised by Special Online Betting Tax in Q1 2021, it was €48.6 million, approximately €31.3 million higher than that calculated for the same period in 2020.

Making an analysis by category, in Q1 2021, gross revenue generated by the online gaming and betting activity amounted to €128.3 million euros. This includes €69.5 million from sports betting with odds (54.2% of total gross revenue), and €58.8 million from betting on games of chance. The sports betting with odds numbers mean an increase of €5.4 million compared to the Q4 2020, and +€35.1 million over the same period of 2020. Same positive trend was for betting on games of chance, with +€9.6 million in relation to the last quarter of 2020, and +€23.0 million compared to Q1 2020.

Then, there is the total amount wagered in sports betting with odds, that was about €423.8 million in Q1 2021, higher by €274.6 million compared to the same period of 2020, and +€78.4 million when compared to the previous quarter. The total money wagered on games of chance was €1,606.6 million, up by around €633.4 million v Q1 2020, and +€197.1 million compared to the previous quarter, confirming the trend for growth observed in the last year.


When taking a deeper look at sports betting with odds by sports modality, we find that football was the sport where the highest volume of bets registered, representing 81.28% of the total number of sports bets made. Bets on basketball and tennis signified almost 15% of total sports betting (9.20% and 5.56%, respectively). In terms of sporting competitions, the Portuguese Premier League represented 14% of the total volume of bets placed in the football modality, followed by the English Premier League (9.4%), the Spanish La Liga (7.1%), the Italian Serie A (7.0%) and the German Bundesliga (4.8%).

Regarding betting on online games of chance, number one place was for slot machines, accounting for almost 73% of total bets on this category in Q1 2021. In turn, bets on French Roulette represented 12.31% of the total, followed by bets on Blackjack/21 (with 6.42%) and bets on Poker Games (“unbanked” and in “tournament mode” ) which, together, accounted for 5.59% of total bets on games of chance.


In Q1 2021, and among the 15 operating entities, 329,400 new player registrations were established, an increase of 35,600 players (+12.1%) compared to the previous quarter (which had a total of 293,800 new player registrations).

In an analysis of the distribution of players by age group, it can be seen that most of the registered players (60.8% of the total) have an age range between 25 and 44 years old. Individuals between 18 and 24 years old represented only 23% of the total number of registered players. Regarding the new registrations that occurred in the quarter under study, 63.6% of them referred to players under 35 years of age.

When considering players that made at least one online bet during Q1 2021, the total was 770,500. From that number, 35.4% players placed their bets exclusively on sports betting with odds, 28.7% played only on games of chance, and just 35.9% chose both betting options.

Finally, about self-excluded players from online gambling in March 31st, 2021 in Portugal, in the total of operating entities, 86,100 registered players were self-excluded from the practice, 13,700 more (+18.9%) than the ones on December 31st, 2020. This quarterly variation is explained by the self-exclusion from the practice of online gambling and betting by 23,600 players and by the end of self-exclusion of 9,900 players. Self-excluded players represented around 3.1% of registered players in all operating entities, a value 0.3% higher compared to the same period of 2020 and 0.2% higher than the one for Q4 2020.