Greek Lawmakers Tighten the Screws on Sports Betting Regulations

Published February 11, 2020 by Brett C

Greek Lawmakers Tighten the Screws on Sports Betting Regulations

Greek lawmakers drafted comprehensive legislation vis-à-vis sports betting and submitted it the European Commission (EC) for tighter regulation over the Greek sports betting industry.

The Greek Ministry of Finance drafted a new piece of legislation which it submitted to the EC, regarding the regulation of online sports betting and other online gambling games. If passed, operators will be subject to stringent requirements. The Finance Ministry has sought stricter controls over online sports betting, and the gambling industry as a whole.

According to the draft proposals, sports betting licenses will be valid for 7 years at a cost of €3 million each. Licences for other online gambling games will be offered at €2 million each. These licences also come with a 7-year validity period. Games which rely on RNGs (random number generators) will be limited to a maximum bet of €2 and the profit per session will be limited to €5,000. The maximum payout on jackpot games under the new proposals is €500,000.

Further, the Finance Ministry has indicated that advertising of RNG online gambling games will be restricted to the websites where these games are available to players. However, the draft legislation does not expressly require that advertising restrictions will be in place for other games such as casino, sports betting, and poker. In all cases, the minimum legal gambling age will be set at 21.

Any online gambling operators that were blacklisted prior to the draft proposals will not be eligible to apply for a gambling licence. Under current Greek legislation, gambling activities are only allowed inside casinos. Any gambling activity outside of casinos is considered a criminal offence and prohibited under Greek law. At the time of writing, there were 8 casinos operating in Greece, most of which are located on the islands of Corfu and Rhodes. These resorts also dovetail as popular tourist destinations.

Sports betting and lottery operations are run through OPAP, with exclusive rights to all betting activities across the island nation. The Greek government has a contract with OPAP, allowing the company exclusive rights to manage all lottery and sports betting operations until 2020, and all casino gaming operations until 2030. Greek lawmakers voted to amend online gambling legislation in 2019. The government wants to provide a pathway to fully regulated online gambling for players while generating valuable tax revenue through licensing fees and taxation on profits. The government anticipates an additional €500 million per annum from gambling taxes.

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