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Greek licensing plan is just a tad ambitious

The basket case of the EU, Greece, has decided to move with the times and licence other gambling operators in the country in order to clear some of its monumental debts. Greeks are renowned for their love of betting but they've mostly had to do it through the local monopoly charging extortionate margins. But the government's attempt at coming up with a licensing regime is very ambitious in terms of the revenue it will bring in, and flawed in terms of how its regulations fit with EU law. Not only have they tried to block betting exchanges, but some of their other plans are just a wee bit extreme...

Betfair files complaint with EC over Greek draft law

Betfair has filed a complaint with the European Commission over the ban on betting exchanges contained within the Greek draft egaming law.

Martin Cruddace, Betfair’s chief legal and regulatory officer, said: “Having played a constructive role in the preparatory phase of the draft Greek gaming law, we were disappointed with the inclusion of elements within it which unfairly discriminate against Betfair and are clearly incompatible with EU law.

“We have therefore asked the Commission to review the matter and engage with the Greek authorities, with the aim of addressing the concerns raised in our complaint."

In addition to challenging the blanket ban on betting exchanges, Betfair is seeking to address several other components within the draft law which it argues are in breach of EU law. These include the obligation to establish a Greek legal entity, locate servers and process gambling transactions exclusively within Greece, and also the requirement for online customers to obtain a special players ID card.

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The Greek government originally presented its bill aimed at raising around €700m this year from the issue of 15-55 new licences to its parliament in March, by which time it had undergone several important changes since appearing in its initial form in January. These included the dropping a proposed “black period”, requiring applicant operators to cease activity in the market until licensed, and opting for a 30% gross profit tax (GPT) instead of the 6% turnover levy originally proposed.



Up to 55 new licences with a 30% GPT to deliver them €700m within a year? Dreamin'!

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