Having moved to the country of Portugal, I have witnessed steady growth over the last few years, most notably an increase in the number of people visiting – especially from the UK in addition to those establishing a permanent base there – particularly digital nomads, like myself.
It is easy to see why. A slower, more relaxed pace of life, better weather, a cheaper cost of living and (if you’re in the right place), the beach almost on your doorstep.
As such, the country is also seeing growing interest in the sports betting industry. Currently, Betano and Betclick are considered to be the main ones, while 22Bet is also available in the country.
Over the last two years, I have seen the gambling industry in Portugal showing robust growth, with a surging interest, mainly in online sports betting. Already, football teams have secured sponsorships with betting companies, most notably Betano (from 2021). This has been a driver of continuing betting interest, though there are others.
With more and more people moving to Portugal from wealthier countries and enjoying the remote work ‘revolution’, earning considerably higher salaries than that of a Portuguese native, I have noticed that a percentage of them have a strong sports betting interest. Certainly, this is something that I have seen first hand, in addition to talking to many other people.
Their higher amount of disposable income is understood to be a major factor; however, as referred to, they only have limited options when it comes to choosing a sports betting operator.
As such, below, I have explained the process of opening and registering a sports betting account in Portugal to clear up any misconceptions that there may be.
Where To Start
The first thing to do before you do anything is make sure that you have an address in the country when signing up for the Portuguese site of a sports betting operator. In order to do this, you need to make sure that you have a NIF number because local authorities need this so that they can approve your address in case that you find an apartment.
When I did this, it wasn’t with the intention of opening a betting account; however, I soon learned that this was something that you do need to do. It wasn’t until after I had done this and a few of the other steps below that I realised that this would not have been possible if I had not gone through this process.
As such, the next, recommended step is to register a Portuguese sim card that you can also use as part of your contact details – it makes the approval process go a lot faster. When I first arrived, I noticed that most travellers do this anyway, albeit just sim-only to get a better roaming experience.
Following this, you are then free to choose your sports betting operator of choice. Because sports betting is relatively new in the country, each one has many different, attractive sign up offers available.
What Sports Betting Operator Should I Choose?
If recent signs are anything to take into account, the next few years could prove interesting in Portugal in terms of the number of sports betting sites that register there. I certainly believe that there is a lot of scope for this to happen, though it depends on what value these firms believe that they can take from here.
Each betting operator in the country has its own unique selling points. Betano is recognised as the undisputed sports betting operator in the country – indeed, the vast majority of Portuguese natives use this site due to its convenience, though the firm’s marketing efforts have also been successful.
For those moving to Portugal, signing up to a sports betting firm that is more widely known could be the best course of action – at least, this is what I have noticed lately among ex-pats, who prefer one that has a better reputation.
Should more recognised companies become firmly established, they could have an impact based on having decent reputations in the industry due to covering a lot of different betting markets and sports, in addition to having in-play betting, the ability to stream games and, in some cases, better value odds.
It really depends on what you are looking for. Many incentivise new customers with attractive sign-up offers, such as matched deposits and regular promotions.
Register A Portuguese Bank Account
This is an important step that many ex-pats overlook when they want to register a sports betting account. There are a number of different bank accounts available in Portugal, though it requires you to book an appointment with your bank of choice. It really depends on which bank account that you register with, in terms of how long it takes. Personally, I went with Santander, because I already had a UK Santander account.
In order to do this, you need to have all of the requisite steps in place, such as a NIF number, proof of address and Portuguese number. Having a Portuguese bank account makes it a lot easier to sign up for a sports betting site, especially if you plan on staying in the country and using these sites on a regular basis.
It can be risky to register a foreign bank account with an operator that is based in Portugal because the slightest hint of detection could well result in you being suspended from applying again, or it may think that you are using a VPN. Indeed, I know people who have done this and encountered numerous problems.
Signing Up To A Sports Betting Operator
Once you have decided which operator you want to sign up to in Portugal, the best course of action is to download the app. Indeed, occasionally, registering via the app can be more beneficial, with better sign-up offers being available. A couple of years ago, I saw that this was the case with Betano.
You need to make sure that you have all of the aforementioned information to hand before you do this (NIF, Portuguese address and telephone number). As yet, operators in Portugal have yet to introduce thorough KYC (Know Your Customer) checks that look at annual earnings, so the sign up process should be relatively smooth. I suspect that regulations will become tighter around this in due course.
When you have provided all of the necessary details, you need to confirm the account via the link to the email address that you have given and then make a deposit if you haven’t opted to go through any available sign up offers.
It should be noted, though, that operators change sign up offers frequently in line with the amount of demand there is, so this is worth keeping an eye on.
Things To Be Aware Of
Compared to sports betting operators that are available in the UK, it could be that you find some of the Portuguese sites fairly limited in terms of what is on offer. I know from personal experience that some such as Betano do not offer as many in-play markets.
As yet, the sports betting market in Portugal has yet to really reach the potency of the UK, which effectively was a pioneer of the industry. It is often the case in new markets, as we have witnessed in the US over the last couple of years, which has only just introduced in-play betting.
It could also be that certain odds markets are not available in Portugal that really make a difference to a sports punter’s overall experience, like intricate player markets or event possibilities, such as the number of throw-ins in a football match.
However, the majority of sites that are available in Portugal allow you to place accumulator bets – something that has proved to be particularly popular in the UK over the last couple of decades. I have Portuguese friends who make these types of bets on a regular basis.
It should also be noted that some payment methods are unavailable in Portugal – PayPal being one of these. Though, I know some people who have found that this can be a way of getting around registering a Portuguese bank account; however, your options are fairly limited with these operators. It is really worth making a considered decision about what your long term plans are and how this may affect things moving forward.
Another thing that you should think about is that, compared to the UK, where payouts on winnings are, in the majority of cases, immediate, this is not necessarily the case with Portuguese-based operators due to the native banks that some of them may use for clearing funds. I know even in the UK, it can take a couple of days with some operators and it is the same case here in Portugal
Personally I don’t think it is best to rely on your winnings being paid out straight away if you register an account with a Portuguese sports betting operator.
Should I Register Multiple Accounts?
If you have decided to stay in Portugal as an ex-pat for the foreseeable future (I got my residency here), at least, and you plan on betting regularly, it may not harm to have more than one (at least a couple) betting account registered – especially if you have all of the official details.
This can give you more options – one operator may pay out quicker than others, have more payment methods available, better promotions, or even just cover a wider variety of markets and sports.
It is often the case in the UK that regular punters have more than one sports betting account registered in order to maximise their potential, and you may want to consider this in Portugal, not just for this reason but from a convenience standpoint.
What Does The Future Hold In Portugal?
Another thing that I have noticed from what recent trends have indicated is that sports betting is definitely on the rise in Portugal, despite only having a population of just under 11 million (when I arrived in early 2020, the official figure was 10.9 million).
However, among male adults in the 20-40s demographic, the amount being wagered over the last few years on sports events is increasing significantly.
What should be considered is that the minimum wage in Portugal is just under £900 per month (when I first arrived, it was the equivalent of just under £600), and many young adults often see this as a way of trying to top up their income, which I often despair at.
At the other end of the scale (as briefly mentioned) is the increasing influx of ex-pats moving there from other countries, who earn significantly more than the average Portuguese native. I personally believe, that this is a major driver that has contributed to the growth in the amount that is being wagered on a monthly basis.
These are a couple of factors that have not gone unnoticed by the sports betting industry in Portugal, and, as a result, over the next couple of years, we could see many more established sports betting operators being approved for a licence there.
In addition, the taxation that operators in the country are required to pay comes in considerably useful to the Portuguese government, with the country having experienced some serious economic problems over the last few years.
Overall, I definitely think that registering a sports betting account in the country could be beneficial if you are planning on establishing residence here, though following the above steps and taking into account the aforementioned considerations is certainly advisable. I believe it would make life easier in the long run.