Portugal has approved a bill to limit the online sector during the covid pandemic, while the Latvian government has opted for an outright ban.
In Portugal, Bill-326, proposes to establish “partial or total limitations on access to online gaming platforms” after noting a double-digit spike since residents have been in lockdown.
The text of the bill includes “casino games, bingo and poker” due to their especially addictive nature, however, the state has so far stopped short of the extent to which access will be limited. Portugal’s betting market has already been hit hard from the cancellation of sports fixtures. Betclic Everest Group’s Miguel Domingues said local betting volume was down 75 percent already in March, and expects this to fall much further in April as more sports were suspended.
Domingues said Betclic also not enjoyed “the transfer of bettors to the casino, nor a significant increase in the number of casino users.”
Others such as Pedro Miguel Garcia, marketing director at Bet.pt, have claimed this could be because Portuguese operators are not allowed to offer novelty products and markets, driving much of the play into the black market.
Latvia meanwhile, has moved to ban online gambling completely, under an emergency coronavirus bill.
The Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Authority “shall suspend all gambling licenses for physical gambling venues […] interactive media and/or via electronic communication services,” the package read. This ban became effective on 14 April and could be extended for another three months.