Greece is located in the Mediterranean Sea, and the territory includes hundreds of islands not only in the Mediterranean but also in the Aegean and Ionian seas. From those hundreds of islands, only 227 are inhabited, by a total of 10 858 018 people, statistics of 2015, 2,1% of the total population of the EU.
Funny enough, considering all those islands, 80% of the 131 957 km2 that Greece has been mountainous. Athens is the capital of the country, and the language spoken is Greek. The country has been an EU member since 1981, so it was one of the first members, and joined the Eurozone in 2001, meaning that the currency is the Euro.
Greece has an ancient history, and gambling goes back to antiquity in Greece. These days gambling is still an important part of the economy, and it’s directed mostly at tourists. Pretty much as everywhere else in the world, online gambling has also become more popular in the last years.
Gambling is legal in the country, but just inside casinos. Any kind of gambling or betting outside those facilities is forbidden even criminalized. The eight existing casinos in Greece are mostly in islands, precisely before they attract more tourists.
In what legislation is concerned, lotteries and sports betting are exclusive from a company called OPAP. Created in 1958 it has a long history, but these days it is held by the state as well as foreign investors, having exclusive rights for sports betting and lottery until 2020. It has also the rights for casino gaming until 2030, so once again, we find another monopoly in another EU country.
2002 was the year when gambling outside casinos was made illegal and criminalized, and the ban covered electric and mechanical games in public and private places. These measures aimed primarily the reduction and elimination of negative gambling effects on children and those addicted to gambling.
Law 4002/2011 is the central piece of legislation in the country, setting the rules for gambling services. This law names the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) as supervisors and controllers of gambling, composed of nine members appointed by the Minister of Finance.
After the approval of this law in 2011, foreign operators were allowed in Greece, but high taxes and unclear procedures are making this process complicated. Those companies even sued Greece considering those taxes to be illegal, something that was supported by the European Union, and that is making the government consider changing that law.
Greece is not a country in favor of online gambling, quite the opposite, it has a strict policy against online gambling, and that is the reason why in 2002 electronic gaming was forbidden. That same 3037/2002 law didn’t make a difference though between online gambling and land-based machines, though, so legislation remained somewhat unclear.
Pretty much like most other countries of the European Union, also Greece suffered the pressure to open the gambling market to foreign operators. Unlike the majority of the EU countries, though, the Greek government is reluctant to make changes and the protectionism still exists, despite some changes have already been made.
The 2011 Gambling Act that legalized online gambling that these days is provided in Greece by companies that pay the required taxes on the profits, and therefore have a special license for this activity.
Even if some licenses were already issued to world-known companies like William Hill and Betfair, Greece still has a monopoly imposed in the industry, and legislation is being prepared to monopolize online gambling for the local operator OPAP.
All of this is happening despite the pressure from the European Court of Justice, but until significate changes happen the locals will have to rely on international gambling sites operating in Greece and accepting Greek players.
Gambling online in Greece
When gambling online in Greece we have quite a few quality options, here we leave some suggestions for online casinos.
|Euro Palace||Video Slots||Guts Casino|
|Royal Panda||Royal Vegas||Mr Green|