Greece to Legalize Online Gambling in 2011?Published January 4, 2011 by OCR Editor
Online gambling reforms are part of wider plan to tackle ongoing debt crisis.
Greece is planning to legalize online gambling and low-stake gaming machines, the government said, in order to comply with European Union laws and to raise cash under the terms of its 110 billion euro bailout.
The country, which is in the middle of a severe debt crisis, has been paying large fines to the EU since it banned all gambling machines in 2002, aside from those run by its betting monopoly OPAP.Online Gambling Included
Under reform plans unveiled by the finance ministry, Greece would allow low-price slot machines in licensed areas and would allow online betting, which would also be subject to certain restrictions. A supervision commission would also be established to monitor the gambling industry.
The government plans to submit the legislation to parliament early in the new year, in the hope of boosting government revenue by more than 1 billion euros ($1.3b) in the next two or three years. Greece is still struggling to meet revenue targets imposed on it by the EU and International Monetary Fund when it was granted the bailout in May.
Illegal gambling in Greece is worth around 4 billion euros a year, according to finance ministry estimates.