Greek online gambling boom

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Greek online gambling boom ( Click to Enlarge )

Online gambling profits are up by almost a third on last year, according to official figures. The 15 operators which are active in the southern European state pulled in combined gross profits of €356 million from January to November 2018, representing a significant upsurge from the corresponding period in 2017.

GamblingMalta, which owns Stoiximan.gr, retained its status as the largest company in the Greek gambling industry. Stoixman.gr alone took profits of €145.46 million in 2018’s first 11 months – an increase of over €9.1 million

New Greek Licensing

In September last year, Greece announced new plans for online gambling licensing, giving the 24 operators at that time the chance to reapply for their permits. However, some baulked at the price, which totalled up to €5 million for firms which wished to combine both online casino and sports betting.

Operators applying for the new licence were required to show evidence of holding a licence in another European Union market, leaving the door open for the likes of GamblingMalta to step up their Greek operations.

It was a stipulation of the new licences that Greek operators must have servers located within the country, and only use payment processors which have local licenses. The .gr URL was made mandatory for online casinos operating in the Greek market. Under the new regulations, online casino players in Greece must pay tax – 15 per cent – on winnings above €100. Winnings above €600 are subject to taxation of 20 per cent.

Policy Change Led To Boom

Online casinos have been authorised in Greece since 2011, with the passing of The Gambling Act. The government had seemingly initially made plans to monopolise the Greek market by favouring the state run operator, OPAP, but this was eventually judged as unlawful.

Instead of encouraging the development of a competitive and well-regulated market, the Greek government and Gaming Commission are blocking major European private operators from it,” said the Remote Gambling Association’s chief executive Clive Hawkswood at the time.

Since then, the major European operators have had the opportunity to enter the market, contributing to the positive outlook which we see today.