Greece’s return to gradual economic growth after the financial crisis has given hope that the fortunes of the country’s nine casinos may finally be improving, although Greek casino gaming revenue fell by 3.2 percent from € 124.8m to €120.8 in the first half of 2017 after a flat 2016, with higher rates of slot spend per patron failing to offset a 4.2 decline in casino visitation.
In November 2017 Club Hotel Loutraki saw its plan for debt restructuring approved by the court of first instance in Corinth, cutting its debt obligations by 40-90% percent and extending its remaining debt maturities over 10 to 15 years
Also in November 2017 the Greek parliament pushed forward with a plan to relocate the Mont Parnes casino from its remote location outside of Athens to the city itself. The Mont Parnes casino is 49 percent owned by Greece’s government.
In the same bill, significant changes were introduced in the terms of the lottery operator OPAP agreement e.g. the number of VLTs that must be in operation was reduced from 35.000 to 25.000, the duration of the agreement was extended by 8 years, the number of VLT’s per outlet increased etc.
A report on the land-based casino market by Grant Thornton, commissioned by the Greek Government during the Summer of 2017, recommended that at least three more casino licences be issued in tourist locations such as Mykonos, Santorini and Crete and also urged a cut in gaming taxes that after the last increase by 2 percent in November 2012 reached in some cases 35 percent.
While the government is seeking to implement the recommendations of the report, tax commitments already made to Greece’s lenders, the Troika, mean any reduction will likely be postponed until 2019, by which time the government expects to have secured investors for the casino at Hellenikon, the former airport site in Southern Athens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Currency : Euro
(Source:The World Bank)
GNI (2014, Local Currency, Millions): 1,75,087
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)
Last Updated: August 2017