Portugal Implements Ban on Publication of Live Odds for Sports Events

Posted on: March 23, 2022, 10:23h. 

Last updated on: March 23, 2022, 01:00h.

In-game betting is increasingly popular in the sports world. It’s taking a step backward in Portugal, though, following the introduction of a new regulation restricting where sportsbooks can publish their odds.

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

In-game, or live betting, is the act of wagering on a particular game as it happens. It offers challenges that conventional sports betting doesn’t. The odds move up and down quicker and bettors have 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, especially in the US, facilitated increased participation. Portugal has decided, though, that in-game betting doesn’t need too much exposure.

Portugal Tightens In-Game Betting Rules

The Gambling Inspection and Regulation Service (SRIJ, for its Portuguese acronym) established a new rule last week. No.1/2022/SRIJ updates different aspects of the country’s sports betting regulations, including the regulator’s approach to in-game betting.

From now on, operators cannot display live odds on any platform, advertising media, or stadium displays. This also means no presentation of live odds on Twitter, Facebook feeds, and other social media platforms. Operators must restrict the odds of their own websites.

Disclosure of ‘odds’ in real-time outside the entity’s website explorer, in addition to configuring an easy appeal to the game, is not a means that observe and respect the … rules of the Advertising Code,” explains the SRIJ.

Any operator who violates the rule potentially faces fines or other sanctions, in accordance with the regulator’s rules on illegal advertising. The SRIJ didn’t specify what types of actions it may take in the event it discovers a violation.

The goal of the new rule is to limit exposure to gambling-related activity by the general public. It also seeks to prevent any appearance that in-game betting can produce greater returns and stop the potential for impulse betting.

Clamping Down on Betting Ads

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

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

In addition, a time limit was also imposed for the advertisements of gambling providers. In Portugal, providers are not allowed to advertise in the media between 07:30 AM and 9:00 PM. This is similar to policies in other countries, including the UK, that is clamping down on sports betting ads.

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

This evolution of the industry was sustained by an equal growth in the number of bettors. In the first quarter of 2020, SRIJ identified about 440,000 players. A year later, that number grew to 770,000.