Greece online betting, since 2020 at least, is a blossoming business. It’s not a perfect market by any stretch, but things are really looking up compared to how they were before. For the gambling industry to reach where it is now has been a long, arduous process, nonetheless. It’s the same tale surrounding gambling development (or lack thereof) in many other countries. Greece shares many of the pitfalls. That said, the country has had a few unique reasons/challenges. Gambling will always be a divisive hobby among the masses, and government influence is often at the center of its development in many places. A government may nourish or impede its growth, and the reasons for that are not always universal. In a few places, gambling is absolutely illegal. Penalties include hefty fines and jail time. Sometimes even flogging! Our focus today is Greece online betting. Where has it been, where is it now? What’s the situation like for a gambling provider or punter in Greece? Read on.
Greece Online Betting – Brief History
Gambling in Greece has never been illegal, per se. However, the government has often exercised suffocating control of the industry. This control was much of this control through OPAP (Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics S.A), a state-owned gambling corporation. Since its formation in 1958, OPAP has had dominion over Greece online betting and all other gambling matters in the country. Greece has had a long history of fiscal mismanagement, and that has impacted the gambling sector. The state’s chronic debt crisis, especially from the 70s onward, has seen the government pull off all manner of antics to rake in maximum profits from gambling. After online gambling took center stage at the turn of the millennium, Greece strongly discouraged online casinos, passing a law in 2002 that banned any and all electronic gaming.
Nonetheless, receiving financial bailouts from the EU opened the country to pressure from the European body. This, in addition to the government needing extra revenue, forced the country to revise its gambling laws in 2011. Greece online betting and slot machines were legalized to collect extra money from betting licenses and taxes. William Hill, Betfair and a couple of other major international gambling operators quickly set up shop. The Ministry of Finance had yet another trick up its sleeve, however. In addition to the monopoly OPAP already held over land-based sports betting and lottery industries, new regulations came in to grant the company monopoly over Greece online betting and gambling. From 2012, many operators had no choice but to just wind down their services and leave. So, in short, while there’s always been a gambling market in existence in Greece, it had never been a free one.
Greece Gambling Market – Present
As of 2020, Greece online betting, in general, is a free and fair as it has ever been. Gambling companies and online casinos are free to apply for licenses provided they can cough up the requisite fees. To operate an online casino in Greece, the fee is $2.35m. To open an online sportsbook, the fee is $3.52m. At the time of writing, the licenses are valid for 7 years, after which time they have to be renewed. The gambling tax for all types of gambling is 35%.
Greece also taxes player winnings, of course. 15% is levied on a win of between $120-600, and 20% on wins above that bracket. In terms of providers, major players in the market include Rescuebet, Bet365, Sportingbet (GVC Operator), OPAP and Greek Lottery. The most popular form of gambling in the country remains the lottery, followed closely by sports betting.