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2019 will be a crucial year for the Greek casino market especially in Attica and Loutraki, creating the potential for a significant extension of the existing market, taking under consideration the upcoming licensing of the casino in Hellinico, the transfer of Mount Parnitha’s casino to Athen’s north suburbs and restructuring developments in Loutraki.  

MACROECONOMIC FACTORS

According to the teaser issued by the Hellenic Gaming Commission for the Hellinikon Integrated Resort Casino (August 2018), a stable recovery for the Greek economy is evident based on:

  • Positive GDP growth forecast well above 2% for the period 2019-2022 accompanied by a similar projected growth in the disposable income.
  • After the restructuring of the banking system, it is considered to be among the best capitalized in Europe.
  • Decline of Greek Government bonds’ yields, approaching pre-crisis levels.
  • Rising confidence towards the Greek economy demonstrated by several landmark transactions such as the privatization of Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports and the concession of regional airports.
  • Tourist sector in Greece is still one of the major contributors of the national economy. In 2017 tourist arrival reached 27.2 millions and are expected to reach 30 million in 2018.
  • Greece has demonstrated s steady growth in all types of tourism and is expected to maintain the trend. The growth factors are mainly the development and upgrade of infrastructure and the routing of seasonal flights by many airlines.

CHANGES IN REGULATION

The land based casino industry in Greece was thoroughly regulated until recently by Laws 2206/1996 and 3139/2003, which on the one hand were characterized as fragmented and outdated and on the other hand needed adaptation to the latest legislative developments in Europe and to serve the need for a more coherent and unified legal framework that would increase the competitiveness of the specific market both at European and international level. Law 4512/2018 (including the relevant amendments in Law 4582/2018) introduced an attractive regulatory, tax and legal framework offering considerable incentives to attract new investments in the gaming sector and more specifically:

  • Introduces two types of licenses a) the simple type casino – 15 years duration plus 10 years renewal and b) the wide range of activities casino (resort or integrated casino) – 30 years duration plus 20 years renewal.
  • Land based casinos must be exclusively established under the legal form, of a societe anonyme in order to be granted an operation license.
  • Simplified procedures for issuance and renewal of operation licenses
  • Minimum amounts of share capital, type of shares etc. are regulated
  • Decrease in gaming tax rates. Previously gaming tax rates ranging from 22% to 35% depending on the individual license are replaced by a scaled system providing a rate of 20% for annual GGR up to € 100 mil., 15% for annual GGR above € 100million up to 200 million, 12% for annual GGR above € 200 million and up to € 500 million and 8% for annual GGR exceeding 500 million. Casinos with previous gaming tax rates of 22%, if entering the new regime, will have their rate reduced by 4% i.e. at 18% instead of 20%.
  • Abolishment of entrance ticket (previously € 6)
  • Simplified approval processes for new games
  • Provision for affiliation of junkets
  • Casino credit line of € 50,000 or more for wagering
  • Special annual license fee 1% on GGR (previously specified in each casinos license)
  • Municipality tax 2%
  • Three new casino licenses for the islands of Crete, Mykonos and Santorini (one for each island)
  • According to the last amendments voted in December 2018, existing licensed casinos operating before the introduction of Law 4512/2018 can apply for the new type of licenses. More specifically by submitting a notice of intent to the Hellenic Gaming Commission no later than  December 1st,  2019 they have up to 12  months to prepare their relevant application for one of the two types license. In this period the casinos will be subject to the favorable tax and duties regime described above (lower gaming tax rates, abolishment of entrance ticket etc.).

 

Furthermore, the Hellenic Gaming Commission has put the new operation rules for casinos up to public consultation (deadline January 14th, 2019).

Hellinikon Integrated Resort Casino Project

The proclamation of the tender for the casino license at the old Athens airport in the southern suburb of Helliniko is expected in early 2019 and will be handled by the Finance Ministry and a special inter-ministerial committee.

Hellenic Gaming Commission has made the necessary preparations for the process, extending its consultancy contract with EY and KLC Law Firm, and leasing the virtual data room for the tender to a British company in mid-December.

Relocation Mont Parnes

According to the financial statements for the year ended December 31st, 2017 issued by “Elliniko Casino Parnithas S.A.” the company decided in March 2018, following the legislation voted in 2017 permitting its relocation, to investigate the potential of the relocation of the casino from Parnitha to the Athenian north suburbs  (Kifissias Avenue close to the Olympic Athletic Center of Athens),  and is currently in the process of obtaining relevant land usage and construction permits.

 

 

ECA MEMBERS

ECA MEMBERS :   c/o Club Hotel Casino Loutraki

NUMBER OF CASINOS

2017 9
2016 9
2015 9
2014 9
2013 9

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

2017 3710
2016 3710
2015 3710
2013 4329

TERRESTRIAL CONSUMER PROTECTION / SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY MEASURE

Promotion of responsible gambling: Leaflets concerning gambling problems (self-test) and describing responsible gaming, in addition to leaflets about the gambling helpline (ΚΕΘΕΑ ) and the institution providing treatments for problem gamblers.

 CHCL cooperates with ΚΕΘΕΑ (Therapy Centre for Dependent Individuals), which is the largest rehabilitation and reintegration network in Greece.

Self-exclusion: The measure allows immediate family members to exclude other family members from entering the casino.

The barring is applicable for a minimum of six months.

Also the Hellenic Gaming Commission has, on its website, an electronic platform called e-assos with information & tools for the people facing gambling problems.

 

Legal Gambling Age: According to national legislation, customers must be registered and over the age of 21 to enter casino gaming premises.

Smoking Ban: Although Greece has issued legislation imposing a ban on smoking in public places, authorities have repeatedly failed to enforce the established controls.

THE REGULATED MARKET

NATURE OF THE CASINO MARKET

Terrestrial: Multiple licences (not capped)

Online: Remote gambling has been regulated in Greece since 2011 through Law no. 4002/2011. However, secondary regulation and a formal licensing process for remote gambling operators are yet to be completed.

 

REGULATED CASINO GAMES

Terrestrial: The list of authorised casino games is found in Law no. 2206/1994 and includes Blackjack, French and American roulette, baccarat, punto banco, dice and slot machines.
The decision 748/15.1.2007 issued by the Ministry of Tourism published in the Government Gazette (FEK 89/B’/30.1.2007) provided the regulation for the electronic roulettes.
The decision 9501/2.8.2010 issued by  he Ministry of Tourism & Culture published in the Government Gazette (FEK 1404/B’/6.9.2010) provided the regulation for additional poker variations i.e. 5 Card Stud, 7  Card Stud, Omaha and Texas Hold’em

 

Online: To date, Greece has not established a dedicated list of permitted games to be offered on remote gambling platforms. However, secondary regulation, which still needs to be issued, is expected to clarify this particular area of the market.

 

RESPONSIBLE REGULATOR FOR TERRESTRIAL AND ONLINE CASINO GAMES

Hellenic Gaming Commission

THE ILLEGAL MARKET

Size of Illegal Gambling Market:Until now, the extent of illegal gambling in Greece has been studied and reported in a fragmented manner, which has been ineffective. Still, a number of recent surveys have ben conducted on the topic:

1. A survey conducted across Greece by the company ALCO on behalf of OPAP S.A. in July 2010, involved phone interviews with a representative sample of 1600 people and concluded that almost half of OPAP S.A. players participate in illegal games played either online or on gaming machines.
Market actors that participated in the survey estimate that the annual turnover of illegal online gambling reaches €4-4.5bn, while that of illegal gaming machines is €0.5-1 bn.Source Hyperlink.


2. A survey conducted in 2011 by ELTRUN, the e-Business Research Centre of the Athens University of Economics and Business, as part of the annual survey on ecommerce, titled B-C, which examined e-gambling and the attitude of Greek online consumers, estimated that almost 400,000 Greeks have gambled online (+25% since 2010), 100,000 of them on a regular basis.

According to the survey, a typical online gambler uses the internet 23.3 hours a week and is an advanced online consumer with an annual spending on e-shopping at €1,450.

On the question of player’s ages, it was estimated that 60 percent of the people participating in e-gambling are aged between 21 and 34 years old, while a significant part of online gamblers, i.e. 8 percent, are aged between 14 and 20 years old.

By this estimate more than 30,000 young people aged 20 years old or younger said that they had played casino-like games or placed bets on the internet Source Hyperlink.

3. A survey titled "Transition of Unregulated VLT Gaming into Tax-Generating Business & Socially Responsible Entertainment", conducted in 2014 by the Athens University of Economics and Business on behalf of OPAP S.A.

On the basis of that survey, it was estimated that 65,000 gaming machines operating in the illegal gambling market generate a gross gaming revenue of €1.3bn annually for the persons that operate them illegally. The average player visiting illegal shops with gaming machines is of low income, high school graduate, man, smoker, visits the shop he likes almost daily and gambles €100 - 150 per visit.

The vast majority of such players do not play any other games of chance. In particular, 80 percent of these people have never gambled online and more than 50 percent have never played in an OPAP agency.Source Hyperlink.

In the Hellenic Gaming Commission Activity Report for the year 2015 no data on illegal market activity was provided. 

Market Protection Measures / Tools to Tackle Illegal Gambling:The Gambling Act permits payment blocking, website blocking and advertising restrictions to be deployed against unlicensed operators.

IN THE CASINO

NUMBER OF CASINO VISITS (in 000s)

2017 2846
2016 2878
2015 2986
2013 3164

REVENUES (GGR & Tips EUR Million)

2017 260 million
2016 269 million
2015 270 million
2014 282 million
2013 306 million

HIGH-LEVEL MARKET DATA

Currency : Euro

Population:10,823,730 
(Source:The World Bank)

GNI (2014, Local Currency, Millions): 1,75,087
(Source: Eurostat)

Internet Penetration (Internet Users):63.2%
(Source: The World Bank)

Mobile Penetration (Mobile Cellular Subscriptions): 115%%
(Source: The World Bank)

Doing Business Ranking (June 2015):60
(Source: World Bank Group)

Prepared by :

Last Updated: May 2019