Greece is a mainland island state in Southern Europe that allows almost all types of gambling. The first gambling establishments appeared in the country at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the rapid development of the gambling industry began relatively recently – in the 2000s. Due to the difficult economic situation, the government decided to expand this industry in the country. This was supposed to help increase the flow of tourists and ensure that Greece is visited throughout the year.
The activities of all establishments offering gambling entertainment are regulated by the Gambling Supervision and Control Commission (E.E.E.P.). The basic rules and conditions for the provision of services in the field of gambling are regulated by law 4002/2011. Today, 9 legal casinos operate on the territory of the Greek state. All of them are located in the largest hotels or resort areas, and are focused more on foreign visitors. The largest casino – Regency Casino Mont Parnes, is located in the city of Acharne. According to statistics, in 2015, almost 3 million players visited casinos in Greece.
The largest operator of lottery bets and sweepstakes, OPAP SA, also operates in the country. Until 2013, 33% of its shares were owned by the state. After which they were transferred to EMMA DELTA HELLENIC HOLDINGS LTD. OPAP SA is licensed to install and operate 35 thousand slot machines for offline gambling (via shops). The license expires only in 2030.
Online gambling has been allowed in Greece since 2011. However, at the moment this market segment is completely monopolized by the OPAP SA betting company. And despite the fact that the European Court has declared this monopoly illegal, the company continues to operate on the market. As of 2017, the entire gambling business in Greece is undergoing radical changes. It is expected that new gambling laws will soon be introduced, which will create a level playing field for all operators in the country. In January 2016, the government announced that it would open up the market to foreign operators and begin issuing licenses to conduct online gambling. Many foreign sites already accept players from Greece. At the same time, there are no cases of harassment of players or blocking of sites.
Greek gambling laws
The gambling industry in Greece is regulated by Law 4002/2011. The provisions of this law establish the basic rules and conditions that must be complied with when carrying out activities related to the organization and conduct of gambling.
According to the law, the following types of gambling are allowed on the territory of the state:
- online betting;
- sports betting (Propo, PropoGoal and Pame Stoixima);
- casino games (blackjack, French and American roulette, baccarat, punto banco, craps);
- slot machines and other gaming machines;
- game terminals;
- lotteries (scratch cards, National Lottery and Popular Lottery). OPAP SA has the exclusive right to conduct and operate number lottery games (Lotto, Proto, Joker, Extra 5, Super 3 and Kino) and sports betting.
According to the updated legislation, gambling is allowed only in official gambling establishments. Players who place bets in other establishments will face criminal penalties. All residents of Greece wishing to take part in gambling must receive a personal “player card”. Persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from visiting gambling establishments.
In accordance with law 4002/2011, gambling is understood as entertainment that meets the following conditions:
- chance is one of the factors that affects (in whole or in part) the outcome of the game. All gambling must be based on the law of probability. Randomness can be triggered by a random number generator, by other mechanical means, or by drawing;
- presence of financial rates. They are defined as the ability of the player to invest any amount of personal funds in order to obtain direct or indirect benefits as a result. This also applies to free games.
All operators must obtain the appropriate licenses and certificates in order to provide their services both in land-based gambling establishments and over the Internet.
Gambling industry regulators
The Gambling Supervision and Control Commission (E.E.E.P.) is the independent administrative body responsible for issuing licenses and certificates to gambling operators. Also in the duties of E.E.E.P. includes supervision, monitoring and control over the conduct of such games in Greece. The Greek Gambling Commission consists of 9 members appointed by the Ministry of Finance. The term of office of the commission members is 4 years. It can only be renewed once. Every two years, the composition of the E.E.E.P. commission, with the exception of the president, is updated by half. This is necessary to continue the activities of the body.
Conditions for obtaining a license in a gambling jurisdiction
All operators applying for a gambling license must submit an application to the Gambling Supervision and Control Commission (EEEP). This application must include data on the applicant and the number of certified gaming machines that perform operations in accordance with the decision of the gambling commission No. 130/2 dated 11/18/14 “On establishing control over the technical characteristics of gaming machines.”
According to the law, gambling operators can be legal entities that are taxed in accordance with the general provisions of Law 2238/1944 (Art. 151). Non-commercial legal entities are not entitled to license electronic technical and entertainment games.
Conditions for obtaining a license for individuals:
- an individual must not have a criminal record, including for serious criminal offenses (theft, theft, fraud, forgery, etc.);
- an individual applying for a license must not have a criminal record or be punished for committing a serious crime in the field of gambling.
After the applicant has received a license, he is obliged to provide the following information to the gambling commission without delay:
- the availability of certified slot machines;
- about the qualified games used in these devices;
- confirmation of the legality of the operator’s obtaining the rights to use slot machines and games. Legal means include: leasing, purchase, transfer of usage rights, etc .;
- on the movement of slot machines between stores or places of their storage, repair.
All this information is provided in electronic form through the Management and Control System of the operating system for the certification of electronic gaming machines. In order to issue a license or renew its validity period, it is necessary to pay in advance the annual fee for using the electronic slot machines that are included in the license. The operator must pay an annual license fee. If he is unable to pay the fee, the license is not issued to him or renewed.
Slot machine certification
All slot machines installed in a specially provided room must obtain a certificate from E.E.E.P.
Each slot machine requires a separate certification. Certification is provided to the manufacturer, importer, in some cases, to the legal owners of the device in accordance with the provisions of the decision of E.E.E.P. No. 130/2 dated 18.11.2014 (B 3225).
Computers are considered and considered as slot machines if they have installed software applications, certified games and they are used for the professional activities of the gambling business.
To be certified, a gaming machine must be CE marked (or equivalent). To obtain a certificate, you must submit an application to the EEEP. In this case, you must also pay the state fee for the consideration of the application (50 EUR for one slot machine). You also need to pay a one-time fee for issuing a certificate (20 EUR for one device).
Each certified gaming machine, ready to go, can be equipped with only certified games. Any change to the installed certified gaming machine must be communicated to E.E.E.P.
Certified slot machines are eligible to carry out legal transactions specifying:
- the authentication code issued by E.E.E.P .;
- unique serial number;
- manufacturer’s name;
- E.E.P. logo;
- a website that registers the certified games installed in the slot machine, as well as provides authentication codes for such games and their age restrictions.
In order to withdraw a certified slot machine from the market, you must first notify the Greek Gambling Commission. It, in turn, removes this unit from the corresponding register.
Certification of premises for the installation of gaming machines
For the installation of gaming machines in a particular room, it is necessary to obtain certification from EEEP, which is issued at the request of the operator in accordance with the provisions of Decision No. 130/2 of 11/18/2014 (B 3225).
The area of the room in which the installation of slot machines is planned must comply with legal requirements. In exceptional cases, slot machines may be located in premises where commercial gambling activities are not conducted.
The premises in which it is allowed to place slot machines are divided into categories:
- type Α` – premises created exclusively for the placement of gaming machines and the implementation of gambling commercial activities;
- type Γ` – rooms of mixed type. In addition to gambling activities, other types of commercial activities can be carried out in them;
- type Δ` – premises in sea vessels making domestic or international voyages. Each ship is considered a separate mixed area, provided that it has a dedicated area for the placement of slot machines and that it complies with legal requirements.
A general manager is assigned to each room that has received a certificate. He, together with the operator, ensures that the given premises comply with laws and regulations.
To obtain a certificate for a gambling room, you must pay a state fee for considering an application in the amount of 50 EUR per room. It is also necessary to pay an annual fee of 80 EUR per room. Payment of fees must be made no later than the expiration date of one year from the date of initial payment. Late payment implies revocation of certification.
Since January 2017, all Greek online casino operators have to pay a flat tax of 35% to the state budget on their profits. The bill was approved by the government in accordance with the requirements of the European Union. The twenty-four Greek-licensed international online operators are required to adhere to the updated taxation system.
Online gambling in Greece
Online gambling has been banned in Greece for some time. However, since 2011, it has become legal again. The responsible body for the regulation of this industry is the Gambling Supervision and Control Commission (E.E.E.P.). The activities of virtual gambling establishments are regulated by law 4002/2011. According to this law, all Greek operators providing their services online must have their own website. The site name must end with .gr.
Immediately after the legalization of online gambling in 2011, the state issued 24 temporary licenses to various operators. However, a year later, the experiment was suspended and the development of a new licensing system began. And at the moment, only the Greek company OPAP has a monopoly on the provision of services in the field of online lotteries and online casinos, which is valid until 2030.
The legislation in the field of licensing gambling activities, including those related to online gambling, is changing significantly. In the near future, licenses will also be issued to foreign operators of virtual casinos. According to preliminary data, the approximate cost of a license for online casino operators will cost about EUR 3,000,000. Moreover, its validity period will be 5 years. The minimum tax rate for such operators will be EUR 1,000,000.
Thus, it is expected that new operators of online games will be able to enter the Greek market in the near future. But even today, many foreign online casino sites accept Greek citizens without any problems. It offers players 141 online casinos with an English or Greek interface. Bets in such virtual establishments are accepted in euros or US dollars.
Best Legal Online Casinos in Greece:
Most Popular Slots in Greece
Slot machines are very popular among Greek players. However, there is no data on specific slots that players give particular preference to. By far the most experienced players are familiar with these legendary slot machines:
- Book of Ra;
- Sizzling Hot;
These devices are created by leading manufacturers: Greentube, Aristocrat, IGT, WMS.
Greek gambling software developers
Greece can boast of its achievements in gambling software development. The Greek company Intralot is recognized as one of the world’s leading providers of integrated gaming systems, as well as transaction processing systems, the latest gaming content and related services.
Intralot is now the second largest lottery operator in the world. The company has branches in 75 countries of the world and has successful lottery projects in 40 countries. It is known that Intralot supplies Russia with all the necessary equipment, software and technologies for the State Lottery.
Prospects for the development of gambling business in Greece
Greece’s gambling business is going through hard times right now. Today, the government of the country is actively engaged in the development of this industry, since it expects to increase revenues to the state budget through this. The authorities are developing new gambling legislation and an updated licensing system for gambling operators. Soon, the state monopoly OAPAR will share the gambling market with other participants, including foreign ones.
New operators will be required to obtain a special license. At the same time, each installed gaming machine and the game installed on it, as well as the rooms themselves, in which the machines are located, will have to obtain the appropriate certification from E.E.E.P. The government has also developed and has already approved a new taxation system, which also aims to increase revenues from the gambling industry. From January 2017, all online operators operating in Greece have to pay a flat tax of 35% of the total profit to the state budget.