Greek Dilemma: Many Issues are Being Squarely Addressed in New DraftPublished November 10, 2017 by Lee R
Identifying key structural challenges is the way to most safely adapt new legislation.
The Greek Parliament is preparing a new vote on online gaming legislation with a draft specifying measures for legalization and regulation of online betting and gaming.
To be submitted this week, the new draft seeks new levels of revenue for the government, the creation of new jobs, and more effective prevention of illegal operators from targeting local players.
Stopping the Bleeding
Kamil Ziegler, the CEO of dominant Greek gambling operator OPAP maintains that measures are necessary to address “millions” in Euros being lost to the black market, specifying a range of between €300 million and €500 million as the current take from Greek players being collected by unlicensed operators.
In the event of passage of Greek regulation, research firm Deloitte forecasts added tax revenues for the next four years at €1 billion.
The OPAP Issue
Releasing the monopoly that OPAP currently holds on all gaming activity in Greece would be a significant step to an efficient regulation model. The exclusive operator of sports betting services and lottery games in Greece was privatized in 2013 after previously having been run by the state. At this juncture, the company pays an annual €780 million for the exclusive rights to operate permitted lottery games and sports betting shops across the nation.
Enforcement Commission Stats
Greek gaming enforcement authority the Hellenic Gaming Commission has revealed seizure of over €5 million in illegal gambling proceeds from the years 2005 to 2015 while logging over 18,000 violations of the nation’s current gambling laws, with the vast majority of those figures undoubtedly emanating from online activity.
In addition to online permissions, the laws would change the way Greece’s land-based casinos are operated. A new structure for operation of video lottery terminals VLTs is currently the key issue, with controversy arising from the announced plan to roll out 35,000 new gaming machines across betting facilities. Opponents are voicing concerns that the increased ease of access to VLTs would violate a 2011 responsible gambling law.
At this point, the cash-strapped Greek government appears faced with maintaining ethical boundaries in adapting both online and land-based activity, to avoid letting economic desperation compromise the well-being and safety of its citizens.