Greek Court Rules in Favour of Gambling Monopoly

Published October 2, 2014 by Mike P

Greek Court Rules in Favour of Gambling Monopoly

Greece has ruled that national gambling monopoly OPAP can continue to operate in a restricted market, despite contradicting EU law.

A ruling from a Greek court has determined that the monopoly of national gambling operator OPAP is entirely compliant with EU legislation. Furthermore, the Council of State also ruled that the country’s prior parliamentary reforms relating to online gambling are legal. Central to the argument has been the assertion of Greek judges that a core aim of OPAP is to safeguard the country against illegal online gambling operators.

Opposition from Foreign Gambling Operators

This will come as a blow to a trio of foreign gambling operators, consisting of William Hill, Sportingbet, and Stanleybet, who first launched a legal challenge against the monopoly of OPAP back in 2004. They had argued that the Greek approach to online gambling was in direct contradiction to EU law. Most notably, the trio argued that Greece was in direct contravention of the EU law that promotes the “Freedom of services”. Despite the protests of the foreign gambling operators, however, the Greek market will remain the same.

Wider Ramifications for Rest of EU

Following this latest outcome, there will be wider ramifications for the rest of the EU. An obvious market would be Sweden, where Svenska Spel is an operator that has been attempting to hold on to its national monopoly. Svenska Spel will use the ruling in Greece as support for their cause. From a legal standpoint, however, the matter cannot yet be considered to be closed.

ECJ Mentality

A wrinkle to proceedings will likely emerge once the European Court of Justice (ECJ) later intervenes. The ECJ had previously stated in January 2013 that the Greek approach went against the law of the EU regarding freedom of services. Greece is currently avoiding that law by arguing that the monopoly of OPAP is protecting its consumers by upholding the values of Greek society. Expect an imminent response from ECJ.

See also

Greek Government to Introduce a New Online Gambling Framework

Kentucky Supreme Court Reviews Online Gambling

The Legalizing of Gambling Boosted Greek Budgets in 2017

Greek Struggles with Regulation Model

Louisiana Bans Casinos Campaign

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