Greek Gambling Market Shows Growth

Published May 13, 2015 by Amir G

Greek Gambling Market Shows Growth

For the first time in 5 years the Greek gambling market is showing signs of growth amidst the country's heavy debt problems.

Following five difficult years since Greece was struck with an economic crisis, the Greek gambling market is starting to show improvement. The Country's Gaming Oversight and Control Commission has shown that in 2014 alone, Greeks wagered some €5.9 billion on gambling in the country, a 7.5% improvement of the 2013 numbers; the government collected some €525 million in gambling tax.

For comparison, in 2009 right before the Greek economy plummeted into its disastrous state, Greek punters wagered €8.7 billion on gambling. The numbers indicate what can be identified as a sort of optimism among Greeks who have wagered more during 2014. The average spend per capita on betting in 2014 was €187, a notable increase from the €172 reported in 2013.

Greeks Gamble More

Casinos in Greece generated some €1.6 billion in revenues, but raking in most of the profits was the Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics (OPAP), Greece's monopoly gambling operator that has a tight grip on sports betting and lotteries in the country.

In revenues, OPAP has collected €3.8 billion, with the Hellenic Lotteries subsidiary bringing in €500 million - $88.4 million out of that alone from scratch cards. In total, the OPAP turnover represented 72% of the Greek gaming market, opposed to the casinos that took 27% and 1% (€65 million) generated by the Horse Racing Organisation of Greece (ODIE).

Regulation Looming

The leftist party recently elected in Greek's national elections Syriza is aiming to bring about regulation to the country's gambling market. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis estimated that the treasury's coffers could see an extra €500 million each year, although that number was disputed.

The interest in regulation springs from the recent wave of renewed regulation acts all around Europe, and last year's report that Greeks place illegal bets amounting to around €5 billion every year.

See also

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