Greek Parly To Debate New Gambling Bill (Update)

Draft bill includes online betting and casino-style games

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos has come through on a promise earlier this month to introduce online and VLT gambling bills to parliament; Greek media reports indicate that legislation has been introduced, is out of committee, and is set for debate in the coming week as lawmakers seek new tax revenue possibilities.

The draft legislation is reportedly accompanied by a study by Deloittes that estimates monetary revenues of one billion Euros for state coffers over the next four years if the bill’s provisions are implemented.

At present OPAP, the company which controls the exclusive rights to organise and manage numerical lotteries and sports betting games in Greece, pays the state roughly Euro 780 million a year for the concession rights.

The bill is intended to tighten up on illegal gambling, and at committee stage attracted presentations on concerns from a number of organisations.

OPAP detailed the existence of illegal gambling dens in the country, whilst the Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP) submitted a report including more than 18,000 violations of gaming laws between 2005 and 2015, and the seizure of more than Euro 5 million in illicit proceeds.

OPAP executive chairman and CEO Kamil Ziegler, who spoke during the committee hearing on the draft bill, pointed out that the Greek state loses between Euro 300 and Euro 500 million annually from illegal gambling schemes.

Committee members were also informed that for every Euro 100 collected by a legal video lottery terminal (VLT) operated by OPAP, Euro 52 – directly or indirectly – is paid into the state treasury.