To Become More than Myth in Greece, Incoming Regulations Must Dispel the GhostsPublished September 20, 2016 by Lee R
Eliminating the OPAP monopoly appears to be a necessary step.
Greece regulation appears imminent.
A Month Away
A new licensing regime for online gambling operators could be available as next month, according to the timeline promised September 5th by Greek Deputy Finance Minister Trifon Alexiadis to legislators.
Assurances of finalised new online gambling provisions of the new online gambling licensing rules being made public “in a maximum of one month” were bolstered by a subsequent Gambling Compliance report of public tender for online licenses to open in October.
Alexiadis promised a kinder, gentler regulation model as a result of the Greek government´s failed 2011 experiment of issuing 24 ‘temporary’ online gambling licenses. These licenses did not even last a year in the wake of the Greek government´s subsequent last ditch effort to inflate the value of Greek betting monopoly OPAP ahead of the government’s sale of its one-third stake in the company.
Stopping Off-shore Play
A wizened Greek government now seeks to provide a regulation model that will phase out the activities of offshore operators currently serving Greek players who “avoid paying huge amounts of taxes, simply because they are established in other countries.”
Payment Reporting Compliance
According to Alexiadis, adapted guidelines are set to include stricter monitoring and compliance guidelines for revenue reporting by Greek-facing operators, in light of previous discrepancies between what the temporary operators dating back to 2011 reported as their Greek revenue versus what those companies reported in other public documents.
These inequities will be addressed by Alexiadis through said a system of “reporting to the competent Greek authorities” require of all foreign payment providers active in Greece to increase the detectability of “(illegal) financial transactions in conducting games of chance via the internet between Greek players and foreign companies...”
Predicting the scale of new application for licenses in the incoming Greek environment remains a tall task, with one huge barrier being the stiff across-the-board tax rate of 35% of gambling revenue. For context, we can point to the example of OPAP, still struggling to maintain a monopoly on online betting. OPAP blames a 36% Q2 fall on the new tax, which if absent would have seen OPAP profits rise 2%.
No one said adaptation was easy. The Greek example is an illustration of how historical corruption can impose barriers on contemporary development.