Greek Finance Ministry Releases Details On Online Gambling Legislative Changes

How many of the 24 temporary licence holders will opt for these licenses?

Greece’s fresh approach to online gambling took a rather belated step forward this week when the Ministry of Finance revealed its intentions toward the 24 operators who have been operating in the market under temporary licensing (itself a highly contentious issue).

The government wants operators to cough up Euro 4 million for each five-year sports betting licence, and an additional Euro 1 million if they want to offer other online gambling products.

Operators can apply to re-up their licenses after the five year term, conditional on their making application at least a year before their current licence terminates… and for the same costs.

Tax provisions include a withholding tax on winnings over Euro 100 achieved by punters, which must be levied by the operator and remitted to the taxman. Winnings up to Euro 500 will be taxed at 15 percent, and over that at 20 percent.

The position regarding the 35 percent tax on GGR currently levied on temporary licensees is not clear, but analysts do not appear to think there is much chance of a government re-think on this high tax rate.

The Greek legal online gambling market has been growing, with an estimated Euro 5.3 billion wagered last year according to the national regulator, which also estimated that a further Euro 5 billion is probably bet on unlicensed sites accessing the Greek market.

The government has opened a general consultation period on the changes, with a deadline for submissions of October 5 this year.

Operators will also have to deposit Euro 500,000 and produce proof of European Union licensing, together with three years of financial records. Those who have been the subject of blacklisting in Greece in the past year will not be welcome, a provision which may impact brands in the GVC group, which is currently challenging the Greek government’s imposition of Euro 187 million in retrospective taxes through the courts.

Applicants must also locate their servers on Greek soil, register their domains in Greece and process financial transactions through local financial institutions.