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Greek government set to reform Greek gaming laws

The Greek government has introduced a draft bill for the regulation of the gaming market in Greece and intends to deposit it in the Greek parliament this fall. 
By reforming and liberalizing the gaming market, the government hopes to put in place appropriate mechanisms in order to monitor and control the market.
Existing legislation prohibits the operation of gambling in Greece, except for OPAP’s operations and premises (OPAP S.A. is Europe’s biggest traded gambling company) and casinos. The European Court of Justice has imposed Greece with a fine of EUROS 32 000 per day for keeping its gambling market closed.
The draft gaming bill creates an appropriate legal framework in order to control the gambling market and protect consumers, minors and other vulnerable members of society. It creates an independent watchdog which will oversee the gaming market.

The Greek Minister of Interior, the Minister of Economy, the Minister of Public Order, after a statement from the independent gaming watchdog may prohibit a gaming operation if it is deemed to be contrary to public order.
The draft gaming bill seeks to protect minors. It states that minors are not permitted to have access to chance games. Minors are only allowed to play games which have strictly a recreation or entertainment purpose. Furthermore, gambling premises cannot be located in areas where minors frequent such as schools, athletic centre’s etc.
The draft bill requires that an individual card be issued for each player so that the age, money and time spent is recorded.
The companies and/or individuals that breach the existing and forthcoming gaming laws will face stiff punishment which includes administrative fines, temporary ceasing of gaming operations, criminal sanctions, the abatement of the right to operate a gaming premises or website and the removal of the license operation.
In addition, the draft bill deals with internet betting. It will be allowed provided all pre-requisites of the upcoming law are satisfied, a license with duration of five years is obtained, and the gaming internet site ends with .gr and the beneficiaries of the license have a registered seat in Greece.
The following options are being examined regarding the issue of an internet gaming license. Firstly, issuing unlimited internet gaming licenses with a fixed cost and secondly, issuing limited internet licenses. Thirdly, granting internet gaming licenses for a fixed period and price to OPAP.
Finally, once the draft bill is finalized and becomes law, the government in collaboration with the independent watchdog intends to pursue and punish accordingly all internet gaming operations that do not have a license to operate in Greece.


Article written by: Evangelos S.Karaindros, lawyer (Member of the Athens Bar Association), 15 Kleisthenous street, 105 52 Athens, telephone: 210 8026039.