Greece Wants To Renew Gambling Law


Few days ago the Greek Ministry of Development and Investment presented a new draft law for the Gaming Act of the State of Greece. The industry should be pleased, because numerous fees are lowered. Thus one would like to arrange the country for foreign investors still more attractively. However, there should be a somewhat higher taxation of companies. Above all however importantly: One would like to bring finally order into a market, which is dominated so far primarily by the chaos.

Capped, but not terminated

Also in Greece one pursued naturally with interest, like the gambling in the last years numerous countries economically to new momentum helped. Already for quite some time the policy concerns itself therefore with a change of the gambling law , in order to arrange the market for enterprises and foreign investors more attractive. The previous government under Alexis Tsipras had already put this on the agenda and actually wanted to have a deal by the end of 2018. However, this has not happened. Since 2011, the Greek gaming market has been virtually unregulated – and that is exactly what the Ministry of Development and Innovation would like to change now.

For this purpose, a draft for a new gaming law was submitted, which according to the ministry is intended to pursue various goals. In the focus are thus the safe participation of all players in the plays, a healthy competition between the market participants, the attraction opposite investors, increase of the incomes by the Lizenzierungsma├čnahmen and the improvement of the player protection by the shift from illegal offers to legal alternatives.

Sunken costs for license procedures

If an enterprise is interested in a gambling license in the vacation country, this must naturally only once fulfill different requirements. For example, the Greek authorities require that the company’s registered office is actually located in Greece. In addition, it goes without saying that the companies must be financially well positioned. Here, for example, deposits of 200,000 euros and a deposit of 500,000 euros are necessary. However, the Ministry’s new draft also brings advantages for companies in terms of the financial expenditure for licensing. While the licensing process previously required around four million euros, the draft states that will in future be sufficient for three million euros . In addition one would like to keep the costs for the participation in the Lizenzierungsverfahren with 10.000 euro low. A further comfort: The running time of the licenses is to be extended. Instead of so far five years can be managed with a license then for a duration of seven years.

Where the Greek authorities of the gambling industry a piece comes against, there is also a small other side of the coin. At least from a tax point of view. So far the proceeds of the enterprises from the gambling industry were taxed with 35 per cent. In addition, corporate income tax was subsequently paid. Exactly here there should be a change. The corporation tax would then have to be paid before the gambling tax. This would contribute to a slight increase in the overall tax burden. However on a manageable level. The probably largest change is beyond that in the permission of the different gambling kinds. If in the last draft exclusively the sport bets were a topic, enterprises are to get now the option to be able to offer sowohl sport bets as well as Casino plays on their platform . Straight one for the players is this probably the most pleasing idea in the new draft.

Sign of the times recognized?

Although the Greek gaming market has not been properly regulated for almost ten years, the industry can look forward to steady growth here. Insofar it can be said that the government and/or the Ministry of the signs of the time recognized obviously exactly at the correct time. The Greek newspaper Kathimerini has dealt with the developments in the Greek gambling industry in recent years in more detail and has worked out some interesting figures. Overall, the Greeks invested more than 7.5 billion euros in gambling between 2015 and 2018. In the stationary casinos, the trend is slightly declining. Whereas in 2015 the figure was 264.94 million euros, it has now fallen steadily to 247.10 million euros. Online, on the other hand, the exact opposite is noticeable – and even more so. In 2015, revenues here amounted to 123.14 million euros; today, the Greek online gaming market is reaching the 400 million euros mark . As a result, the advantage for the state has also increased significantly in recent years in terms of tax revenues. The almost 587 million euros from the year 2015 are now compared to 832.36 million euros. According to the Greek newspaper, taxes totalling almost three billion euros were paid in the three years from 2015 to 2018.

Transfer to the legal market

In the last two years of evaluation in particular, the increases in many areas are enormous. Online, for example, revenues increased by almost 40 percent between 2017 and 2018. The newspaper emphasizes, however, that this is not based on an increase in the number of players or on a significant increase in stakes. Instead, the main reason for this development is likely to be that game activity is increasingly shifting to the legal market. By the new gambling law this development could be advanced now once again.

Beyond that the developments are from financial view for Greece equal doubly interesting. One drives the own economy not only actively forward, but also on passive way with indirect advertising for investments in the country . Foreign investors are extremely cautious with their investments, not least because of the euro crisis in Greece. But the positive figures from the gambling industry could now lure them out of their reserves again. Thus Greece would not only be fueled from within, but could also reap the rewards of large inflows from abroad. Until then, however, a little time will probably pass. First of all, the market will have to deliver – provided that the law is passed at all like this.