A rundown of the status of online gambling regulation in Greece.

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While online poker is a popular pastime among native Greeks, online gambling has not been having an easy time in this financially-pressed country.

In 2002, the Greek government banned all forms of electronic gaming, but the laws were made less strict in 2011, when the Gambling Act was passed, legalizing land-based slot machines and online gambling. The goal of this was to help Greece draw itself out of its huge budget deficit by collecting funds through licensing and taxes.

This Gambling Act allowed international operators to enter the scene – but only temporarily. In 2012, the Greek Ministry of Finance created a partnership - and monopoly - with the state-run operator, OPAP, which already held a monopoly over the country's land-based sports betting and lottery industries.

In 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that OPAP’s monopoly was illegal, but no real changes have been made on the part of Greece to comply. As of now, OPAP has been granted partnership until the year 2030. While this contract still stands in place, there is constant pressure on Greece to break up the monopoly and to allow international operators back into the country. Perhaps these days Greece might be more willing to comply, given that OPAP’s stock (of which the government owns 34%) is falling steadily.

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