This article is in relation Greece’s proposal to the European Commission and the opposition it faces from other associations who govern online betting. It further goes into discussing how those changes will affect those who operate remote gambling operations within Greece.
The country of Greece has now submitted gaming proposals to the European Commission. The gaming proposal outlines a new series of rules and regulations that will regulate the online gaming industry within Greece’s borders. This new proposal is in direct contravention of the European Commission’s rules relating to the single market as it gives permission to the OPAP, which is run by Greece, a monopoly until the year 2030. This is an extension over the previous 2020 monopoly.
Greece wishes to remove games of chance under their current form online and allow for a monopoly on sportsbetting to the OPAP. Greece further only wants to allow online casino that offer live casino games including poker that do not operate with the use of a random number generator, which is how most forms of online gambling are operated. Any games that are random number based will be exclusively operated through the OPAP. This proposal will be open for consultation for the next four months and thereafter will be passed into law in Greece. Greece currently owns a 34% share of the OPAP and intends to purchase another 33% this spring in order to capitalize on the tax revenue the OPAP will generate for Greece, which is much needed.
This European Commission has been highly critical of the new proposal as they find it incompatible with current E.U law. With that said the new proposal from Greece does include multiple anti-competitive and unwarranted restrictions in place. The issue with these is that they add a financial burden and one that is completely unjustified on those who wish to operate within Greece. This includes demands that those egaming operators must have a permanent location within Greece and that all financial transactions be carried out through banks in Greece. Another unjust aspect is Greece applying different age limits for online gambling than it does for offline gambling within its borders. They offer no justification for this whatsoever or evidence to support this.
The European Gaming and Betting Association and the Remote Gambling Association, who together represent the vast majority of those who operate remote gambling sites, are worried about the new law and how it will apply a tax laws against those who operate within Greece, specifically how those operators will pay taxes on players who reside in Greece. This will be retroactive from January 2010 until the new law comes into effect. The burden and expense this will cause its members is nothing short of ridiculous and Greece’s attempt to essentially extort monies from previous years with respect to online gambling. All operators will further have to pay a licensing fee to operate and this tax issue is being seen as a form of punishment to those who operated within Greece in the past.
It is unknown how many operators will be willing to re-renter the Greek market and pay this outrageous fee’s when it is clearly evident that Greece does not intend to offer a friendly place to do business but is more focused on creating an atmosphere that will see the majority of revenue end up its own coffers and not those of private businesses.