A report from Portuguese newspaper Diário de Noticias (DN) states that in the last six months, and as part of the enforcement of a new law, Portuguese authorities have closed 86 websites dedicated to online casino games, namely Poker.

The same report states that this “crack-down” on online gaming has already led to at least 50 players moving to other countries where online gaming is allowed.

Czech Republic, Brazil, Hungary, Malta and the UK are the top five destinations chosen by these “special migrants” to be able to continue playing online professionally.

Some of them had to leave their families behind; others stopped their studies in order to continue to perform this activity, which grants them sufficient income to live abroad. In one case cited by the DN, one of the players stated that he would only return to Portugal when the “profession” is legally permitted.

The ban in Portugal is due to a legal breach that precipitated a new regulation stating that online gaming is only allowed when run by approved websites. That is not possible yet, since the ruling entity is yet to issue any licenses. but there are at least 11 companies that have submitted applications, the processes for which are, according to DN, still ongoing without a precise date to be concluded.

The lack of licensing has led the poker players to become frustrated. This frustration, however, extends beyond poker players, as the regulation also applies for other activities like sports betting.

João Nunes, head of the largest poker website in Portugal, said that “the bureaucracy is huge and the process takes a long time, and it is a very complicated situation for the players.” He recalls that this community has about 60,000 registered users and that many are professionals or semi-professionals who are using this income to provide for all, or at least part, of their income.

In Macau, at the present time, there are no licenses for online gaming operations.

In June last year, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) issued a warning to local residents about online gambling sites, stating that it “has never issued any online interactive gaming license to any company. Hence, all online interactive gambling websites in Macau are considered illegal operations.”

Although illegal, online gaming has been promoted, leading the authorities to employ endless efforts to tackle this activity.

Industry conventions and fairs, such as the Global Gaming Expo (G2E Asia), have also tried to address this topic more than once.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson has tried to push legislation that would ban online gambling in the United States.


Original Source:  Macau Daily Times


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