September 20, 2016

New Online Gambling Licenses In Greece To Be Released in October

Greece’s new licensing system for online gambling operators is set to be implemented by October. Deputy Finance Minister, Trifon Alexiadis, confirmed that the new rules would be made public “within a month”.

In 2011, Greek ran an experiment by issuing 24 “temporary” licenses to online gambling sites. The licenses were later suspended as the Greek government aimed to increase the betting monopoly that OPAP had. The government then sold one-third of the stake of the company. Alexiadis explained that this was to stop worldwide gambling operators from making profit while evading Greek’s taxes.

The experiment also revealed that many operators were producing false reports of their revenues. The Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP) surveyed the operators on their revenues and turnovers. Alexiadis said that public documents from these operators showed discrepancies compared to declared revenues.

Alexiadis also stated that the newer regulations were more optimized and put a cap on how much operators could earn from Greek betters. New regulations required foreign payment providers to report to the Greek authorities thus making it easier to track financial transactions from users to foreign operators.

Interestingly, many operators might be reluctant to apply for a license as Greek has a massive 35% punitive tax rate on gambling revenue. OPAP, the current monopoly in Greek gambling has also fallen victim to the new tax and reported a decrease in profits of 36% in Q2 of this year. The company clarified that if it wasn’t for the tax, profits would have risen 2% instead.

The EEEP has also been making efforts to curb online gambling without authorization and has recently started blocking more and more sites. As of August, 847 sites have been blacklisted by the EEEP. At the beginning of this year, the number of blocked sites was nearly half that.

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