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Portugal implements live odds publication ban for sporting events

By March 23, 2022Sports events

Posted: March 23, 2022, 10:23 a.m.

Last update: March 23, 2022, 01:00 a.m.

In-play betting is becoming increasingly popular in the sports world. This is a step backwards in Portugal, however, following the introduction of a new regulation limiting where sportsbooks can publish their odds.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo, the star of Portuguese football, playing for Manchester United. The Portuguese sports betting market is becoming more restrictive following the implementation of new rules. (Image: Getty Images)

In-play, or live, betting is the act of betting on a particular game as it occurs. It offers challenges that conventional sports betting does not. The odds go up and down faster and bettors need to be able to react accordingly.

It’s not a new concept – some sportsbooks have included in-game options for years. However, the rise of legalization, particularly in the United States, has facilitated increased participation. Portugal decided, however, that in-play bets need not be too exposed.

Portugal tightens in-play betting rules

The Gaming Inspection and Regulation Service (SRIJ, for its Portuguese acronym) established a new rule last week. N°1/2022/SRIJ updates various aspects of the country’s sports betting regulations, including the regulator’s approach to in-play betting.

Now, operators cannot view live odds on any platform, advertising medium or stadium screen. This also means no live odds presentation on Twitter, Facebook feeds and other social media platforms. Operators must restrict the ratings of their own websites.

Disclosure of real-time “odds” outside of the entity’s website explorer, in addition to setting up an easy call-to-play, is not a means that observes and abides by the rules… of the code of the advertising“, explains the SRIJ.

Any operator who breaks the rule potentially faces fines or other penalties, under the regulator’s rules on illegal advertising. The SRIJ has not specified the types of actions it can take if an infringement is discovered.

The aim of the new rule is to limit the exposure of the general public to gambling-related activities. It also aims to prevent any appearance that in-play betting can produce greater returns and to stop the potential for impulse betting.

Repress betting ads

In October 2021, Portugal implemented restrictions on gambling advertisements in the country. The Portuguese government believes that gambling should be treated the same as alcohol. It passed four laws in October 2021 to limit gambling ads.

The introduction of the laws was strongly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a huge increase in the number of young people playing the game in Portugal during the lockdowns. This served as a catalyst for the creation of several new restrictions related to different forms of gambling and betting.

In addition, a time limit has also been imposed on advertisements from game providers. In Portugal, suppliers are not allowed to advertise in the media between 07:30 and 21:00. This is similar to policies in other countries, including the UK, which crack down on sports betting advertisements.

The SRIJ reports that the online sports betting category reached €423.8 million ($466.18 million) in the first quarter of 2021. Compared to the same period in 2020, this represents a growth of 284%, when the volume of bets amounted to 149.2 euros. million ($164.12 million).

This evolution of the industry has been supported by an equal growth in the number of bettors. In the first quarter of 2020, the SRIJ identified approximately 440,000 players. A year later, that number had grown to 770,000.