Greeks Go Ahead With Online Gambling Legislation

Published Saturday, August 06, 2011 -

The Greeks have decided to go with their online gambling stance and pass legislation for the activity.
The government in Greece was up against the wall to pass an omnibus bill which includes internet wagering before the next scheduled meeting of the International Monetary Fund which is at the end of August 2011. The debate which lasted only three days in the Greek Parliament resulted in yes vote for the packaged legislation designed to bolster the Greek economy and comply with conditions for an IMF bailout.

Controversy erupted when the government gambling monopoly OPAP of which the government owns 34% was to be sold off to private investors. The new legislation upgrades the value of OPAP by granting it a license to install and operate 35,000 video lottery machines throughout the land, which pleased the Finance Minister who was against the sale of OPAP before. OPAP will operate 16,500 of the machines with selected operators contracting to operate the others. Obviously the Greek administration has the right attitude, to capitalize on easy upgrades to make a better profit when OPAP is eventually sold, all the while maintaining a sure grip on continued cash flow.

The European Commission had made objections to various clauses in the draft proposal for the legislation. Those included a blackout period of six months prior to the implementation of the new legislation and the limited number of licenses the government would allow. Surprisingly, those parts of the passed legislation have been removed. The alternative is good for already registered and licensed private online operators in the European Union because they will be allowed to offer services immediately and without hindrance. During the six month intermediary period online operators will be able to advertize on all media platforms. Offshore operators with their servers located in countries other than Greece will have that short time to target the Greek jurisdiction. The catch is after that the licensed operators may have to locate the infrastructure and servers in Greece.




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