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Greece - money please, screw the EU rules

Hardly surprising that the Greek government are desperate to earn more tax revenue via gaming licensing, but with shambolic regulations, it's hard to imagine many firms wanting to get involved!

Greece pushes for fast-track regulation

Greek politicians could agree to regulate the country’s online gambling market as soon as Thursday, despite its existing proposals continuing to contravene EU laws.

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It is now thought the government is considering charging operators around €10m for a five-year licence.

An RGA spokesman told eGaming Review the body and its members within the licensed private gambling industry had broadly welcomed the opening of the market but that it was concerned with “the apparent disregard” of the EC’s notification process and standstill period by the Greek authorities. “The disregard for those protocols and the acceleration of this legislation comes at a time when Greece is receiving significant financial support from the EU,” he said.

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The Remote Gambling Association has been lobbying Greek ministers and decision makers and the organisation’s main issues surround:

Taxation
A 30% Gross Profits Tax (GPT) on operators, higher than any of the other current regulated markets in France, Italy and the proposed new markets in Spain (20-25%) and Denmark (20%). Despite the RGA lobbying successfully to achieve a change in taxation to GPT it still views the rate as prohibitive.

A 10% “players’ tax” on winnings seen by the body as a further disincentive to gamble with a Greek licensed operator.

Ban on bets
A blackout period of up to six months proposing a ban on all operators offering gambling services to Greek consumers before obtaining a licence. OPAP would be exempt. It suggests this is impractical and will have an adverse impact.

Forced use of Greek financial institutions
Compelling licensed operators to only use Greek financial institutions appears to be a restriction which breaches EU law, notably the free movement of capital.

Different age limits for on and offline gambling
Participation in online gambling is limited to a minimum of 21 years of age, however, the offline gambling activities of OPAP are restricted to a minimum age of 18 years.

Requirement to have a permanent establishment in Greece
The requirement that operators must have a registered office or permanent place of establishment in Greece runs directly counter to the freedom to provide services.

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