Greek Government Abandons Double Taxation of Online Gambling OperatorsPublished November 2, 2019 by Brett C
Online gambling operators in Greece are breathing a collective sigh of relief following the government's decision to abandon plans for double taxation on online gambling revenues.
Further updates to online gambling industry legislation in Greece have captured the headlines yet again. This time, fresh proposals for the liberalization of the online gaming industry no longer contain a highly contentious tax increase. Previously, the government had proposed high taxes on the gambling industry. The Greek Ministry of Development and Investment initially suggested a tax rate of 35% on gambling. This tax was not deductible from the corporate tax obligations of online gambling companies.
Temporary Permit Holders Unified Against Government Taxes
The Greek online gaming market repudiated these proposals, and widespread criticism was leveled at the government from 11 operators which have been operational on temporary permits since 2011. Plus, resistance from other operators intent on entering the Greek online gaming market added to the furor. This backlash managed to make drum up considerable support from lobbyists and industry aficionados – the Greek government backed down on the double taxation aspect of the online gambling legislation.
However, it's not all a bed of roses for online gaming operators in Greece. The government wants its piece of the pie and is not backing away from the 35% tax rate on gambling activity, and exorbitant license fees that it will charge operators to get up and running. Sports betting operators will be billed €3 million for a license and online casino operators will be charged €2 million to offer casino games to players in Greece. The Ministry of Development and Investment believes that it can generate income streams of €73 million annually from its gambling industry courtesy of these fees.
Local Operators Try to Retain Status Quo
Such is the excitement around online gambling in Greece, that many operators are lining up – despite the costs – to get a piece of this lucrative market. One of the prominent local lottery and betting companies, Intralot will be teaming up with tech company OTE Group. The latter company will have a majority share of the gambling company. In total, some 24 online gaming operators were issued temporary permits in 2011 in Greece. Their unified stance against the government's double taxation policy worked, and a notable operator – OPAP – is resisting government efforts to impose RNGs on the market, given that this company has a monopoly on video lottery terminals in Greece.