Online gambling regulations around the world have been the source of a lot of controversy and confusion over the years. When the games first came on the scene, even countries with land-based gaming laws on the books weren’t sure how to regulate the digital industry, and this showed in the many missteps taken along the way. This is especially true in Greece, where there has been widespread confusion about whether or not to allow online gaming. Given the country’s recent financial crises, one would think that opening up the market to extra tax income would be a motivating factor. This page is dedicated to bringing you up to date on where regulated online gambling stands in Greece, and as a result what suppliers and sites are accessible to Greek players.
Gambling Regulations in Greece
The Greek government has definitely flip-flopped on its stance on online gambling, as can be witnessed by the role regulation has played in the past. Greeks love to gamble, and land-based betting has a long history in the country. Casino gambling was limited to land-based facilities, of which there is a handful in the country. Lotteries and sportsbetting have their own set of rules, being allowed in retail-style shops around the country. However, only one license was awarded for this activity, and the company who held this license, OPAP, was partially owned by the government. This is typical of many of the European countries, although in many cases the government owned and operated the entire operation themselves.
Much like the other members of the European Union, the pressure was put on the Greek government to open up the gambling market to outside operators, and stopping the monopolistic behavior. The end result of this pressure was the passing of a gambling bill in 2011, which allowed for outside companies to apply for gaming licenses. However, this Act came with some prohibitive terms like a 30% tax on GGR, which made it very tough for companies to turn a profit from the country. In the end, 24 licenses were awarded, but it was then determined that he government-backed OPAP had a much more favorable tax burden, causing several of the licensees to file formal complaints.
This could have ended very simply by the government lowering the tax rate for the foreign companies, but instead, Greece doubled down on the issue by revoking all the licenses in 2012, giving OPAP back its monopoly. Also, the government extended OPAP’s license to 2030, essentially closing the door on offshore companies from entering the legal market. The government’s shares in OPAP were sold to a private firm in 2013.
That seemed to be the end the story until a new government came to power in Greece in 2015. This new party, realizing the hardships facing the country in light of the financial crises and subsequent bailouts from the EU, have discussed bringing back online gambling regulation. While nothing formal has materialized, there are rumors that new regulations will be tabled in 2018. However, it appears it will not be cheap for operators -the licensing is reported to be posting 500k per operator, and the tax rate is planned to now be 35%.
Online Casino Software Available to Greek Players
While all this mind-changing was happening regarding regulations in Greece, one thing remained constant: there were no penalties stopping offshore companies from accepting Greek gamblers. As a result, it was up to the individual software company as to whether or not to stay in the market. Very few companies chose that route so today players from Greece can access some of the best online slots content from the world’s top providers. Here is just a sample of the software suppliers still visible to Greek players:
- Evolution Gaming
- Real Time Gaming
These are some of the best suppliers when it comes to the quality of the graphics in their games, and this is obvious the second you open up one of the online slot machines built by any of these firms. Overall, until the regulations are set, and companies are punished for offering software to Greek-friendly offshore sites, we see nothing stopping players from accessing some of the great software in the market today.
Best Online Casinos for Players from Greece
With the plans for regulation still facing a level of uncertainty even years after the government discusses re-introducing legislation, the Greek online gamblers still have their choice of hundreds of excellent online casino and sportsbetting sites. When we review a casino for our site, the first thing we check is who is restricted from accessing the games. This allows us to quickly filter the sites for players in each country. Next, we review the quality of games offered as well as the promotions located at each site. This comprehensive process results in a list of highly recommended online casinos. You will see that list for Greek players below. We are happy to recommend any of these sites, and if you have feedback about any of them, we encourage you to send it our way so we can keep our reader up to date on the best places to play.