Greece’s nine casinos saw their 2015 takings just 3.8 percent lower than 2014 and the first half of 2016 has fostered cautious hopes that a bottom may have been reached in one of Europe’s most economically challenged markets. For the period 1st January- 31st July 2016 casino takings were 2.6 percent lower than the same 7-month period a year before.
Still, in May 2016 the Greek Parliament voted to confirm an increased revenue tax of 35 percent for e- gaming and OPAP (including all games of chance, horse racing, lottery and VLTs) with retrospective application from January 1st, 2016.
Casino Loutraki had previously appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeal of Tripoli seeking to reduce their gaming tax liability from 35 percent to 22 percent, retroactively asking the Greek government to repay €40m. Previously, in 1996, the Loutraki Casino had accepted a tax increase from 20 percent to 33 percent by private contract to the ministry when it was decided not to grant permission to another casino in Athens.
With a huge revenue gap to fill the Greek Government has again raised plans to issue another casino licence at the former airport Elleniko site in Athens, and possibly relocate Casino Parnitha to another site to improve its earnings.
In June 2016 Antonis Stergiotis, Greece’s chief gambling regulator, was replaced by Vangelis Karagrigoriou.
On November 1st 2016 plans to install more than 17,000 VLTs in Greece took a step forward with the publication of new regulations, although these are still subject to notification to the European Commission.
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: 1st September 2016