Gambling in Greece
In 2002, Greece completely banned online gambling. By 2011, the authorities still decided to change their decision and began issuing temporary licenses for casinos. The Gambling Commission monitored the market, which was fully regulated by the country, and only recently, the country decided to give permanent licenses to the first companies. On July 5, 2021, the first bookmakers and casinos in Greece received them.
From prohibition to the country monopoly
The Greek authorities saw the initial ban on online gambling as the simplest and most effective method to combat gambling. However, the regulation law turned out to be unsuccessful, because even online chess got banned, which caused concern from the European Commission.
After discussions, Greece repealed the law banning online gambling and began issuing temporary licenses. A complete ban on gambling caused the departure of large independent casinos and the formation of the state gambling monopoly OPAP, which was responsible for both lottery and betting activities. While the monopolists were making money for the budget, many bookmakers and online casinos appeared in Greece and abroad and complained to the EU about unfair practices. The European Union declared the monopoly illegal, yet a Greek court acquitted OPAP, saying it was necessary to combat money laundering.
The new format of gambling regulation in Greece
In the end, the monopoly killed itself – revenues from 2013-2016 brought in €60,000 in taxes, and the government decided to develop new gambling regulations.
Four years later, the Gambling Commission proposed a permanent license model for operators similar to that in the UK. Besides, the Greek government copied some of the norms for slot machines: the low maximum bet (€2), the spin must last at least 3 seconds, and the limit for winning the jackpot – €50,000, for instance. Advertising policy has also been strictly regulated. For example, the cost of advertising must not exceed €1 thousand. The licenses themselves have been in development since 2019.
In the final version, the conditions for obtaining a license are as follows:
- license fee: €3 million for online betting;
- other online games: €2 million;
- registration fee: €10k;
- required bank guarantee: €100k;
- minimum capital requirement: €200,000;
- license term: 7 years.
After all these years, the Commission has issued the first 15 licenses for the gambling operators.
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Growing popularity of gambling in greece
With the introduction of temporary licenses, Greece’s gambling sector began to grow rapidly. In 2018, online gaming revenues rose to €391 million, 37% more than in 2017. Several factors contributed to this growth, such as the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the lifting of banking restrictions. The budget received €137 million of tax payments. The growth in popularity continued until the second quarter of 2020 when the world faced a coronavirus pandemic. You will be interested in knowing about new casinos technologies, which help even in the COVID-19 era.
But even after that, the gambling industry continued to survive at the expense of non-sports disciplines in online gambling. According to the Gambling Commission, the market grew to €540 million in 2020 from €437 million in 2019.
With a 35% income tax, the Greek government benefits from creating an environment for gambling that is conducive to prosperity.
Gambling in Greece is legal. The country has a regulator that monitors the legality of casino games and protects players residing in the country.
In ancient Greece, gambling was of particular importance. The Greeks considered gambling to be more than just a game. It is known that the Olympic Games in ancient Greece were a popular place for those who loved to place bets. Therefore, bets were commonplace for the winner. The bet amounts usually reflected the financial condition of each player.