Illegal Gambling Market In Greece Bigger Than The Legal Sector

Gambling watchdog chief says legitimate betting revenue has dropped in recent years

In an interview with the Greek newspaper iKathimerini, the head of the Hellenic Gaming Commission said this week that revenues generated by illegal gambling in Greece are probably greater than those in the legitimate gambling sector.

Evgenios Giannakopoulos explained that the legal market has dropped from a turnover of Euros 8.7 billion in 2009 to Euro 5.5 billion in 2013, posting a decline of about 35 percent.

The same occurred in gross profits, which dropped from Euros 2.5 billion in 2009 to Euros 1.5 billion last year.

Giannakopoulos quotes figures estimating that there are between 60,000 and 100,000 illegal gaming machines at non-licensed gambling spots, and a conservative guess puts this turnover at between Euro 4 and 5 billion, with gross profits around Euros 1.5 billion.

That did not include illicit online gambling, which had a turnover in 2013 of about Euros 1 billion, he said.

Giannakopoulos also confirmed that the Greek gambling monopoly OPAP still holds the Internet betting monopoly in Greece and revealed that the Greek government is creating an electronic identity mechanism for winning betting slips in order to reduce money laundering.

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