Greek Government Unveils Costly New Online Betting Regulations

More than two years after announcing its intent to introduce new gambling regulations, the Greek government has finally announced what those regulations will look like and how much it’ll cost to acquire an online betting license.

Greek betting sites hoping the government would relent on some of the most expensive proposals first revealed two years ago will be disappointed to learn there is no news regarding the proposed 35% tax and that licensing costs have actually gone up, rather than down.

Latest Greek Gambling Licensing Conditions

We got our first look at the new Greek gambling regulations back in 2016 and not a whole lot has changed. What’s new in 2018 is the proposed licensing fee has been increased from €3,000,000 to €4,000,000 for operators wishing to offer online sports betting.

Operators seeking to offer additional forms of gaming will have to pony up an additional €1,000,000 to be licensed. Licensed will be valid for five years, and operators will have to renew at least one year ahead of expiration at a cost equal to the original licensing fee.

iGaming Business reports all operators interested in applying for a Greek gambling license will need to demonstrate they hold a license in another European Union country and make a €500,000 deposit upon applying. Operators will also be required to submit three years’ worth of financial records.

A variable tax on gambling winnings will remain in place. The tax, which was included in the 2016 proposal, applies a 15% tax on winnings greater than €100 and a 20% tax on winnings above €500.

Something we didn’t see last time around is a new regulation that will prohibit operators who have appeared on the country’s blacklist within the last twelve months from receiving a license. The Greek Gambling Commission has added nearly 3,000 betting sites to the blacklist over the years for offering online gambling to residents without a license.

Some of the bigger names to be added to the blacklist over the past year include Betsson, 888 Holdings and Ladbrokes. If the latest regulations end up taking effect, these sites and many others will be precluded from applying for a Greek betting license.

What remains uncertain is the status of the flat 35% tax on operators’ gambling revenue. Operators hoping to get a break on tax rates probably shouldn’t hold their breath. Everything coming out of the cash-strapped Greek government recently indicates they are intent on forging ahead with burdensome gambling regulations and onerous tax rates.

These newest proposals are still subject to an upcoming consultation period running during early October. Operators, public services and all other interested parties are welcome to submit opinions during that time.

Just the Latest in a Long Saga for Greek Gambling Industry

Greece has been trying to figure out a way to manage its online betting industry for years now, mostly unsuccessfully. A new online gambling bill passed in 2011 was sold to the public as a way to open the market to competition and raise money for the government.

That effort ended up causing more controversy than liberalization as it imposed high taxes on foreign operators seeking licenses while simultaneously exempting the Government-owned monopoly gambling provider OPAP.

While the government fiddled with the actual licensing process, it granted temporary permits to a total of 24 online gambling operators. In return, temporary licensees were ordered to pay back taxes going back two years. Some operators accepted the deal; others contest the law to the European Commission.