Greece Finally Approves Passage of Revamped Gambling Bill

  • First regulated online gambling bill in Greece was approved in September 2018
  • Greek government has dropped license fees from €5m ($5.54m) to €3m ($3.32m)
  • Operators can also exclude GGR from their corporation tax figures
Greek flag printed on key of a keyboard
After months of deliberation, the Greek government has finally approved a new gambling framework. [Image:]

Approved by government

After debating amendments, the Greek government has finally given the green light for the country to launch its first regulated online gambling bill.

While the framework was first approved back in September 2018, the bill needed to move through the European Commission (EC) and Greece’s own House of Representatives.

at the current rate of growth, this could raise an extra €500m ($554m) per year

The gambling passage has been authorized as part of a new ‘Invest in Greece’ package, and much has been made of the potential tax revenue that online gaming could bring.

With a struggling economy, the Syriza party was quick to see the value in the taxation of gambling profits and license fees. They estimated that, at the current rate of growth, this could raise an extra €500m ($554m) per year.

Issues to consider

There were a couple of potential issues that had to be considered, including how random number generated (RNG) games fit into the new framework.

These account for some of the existing operators’ most popular titles. They were at the center of controversial conversations last year, when the government considered banning them. With threats of a legal challenge from operators, this issue has now been dropped.

A total of 24 online gambling operators have been granted a temporary license under a transition stage since 2011. They will now all have to reapply once these temporary licenses end on March 31, 2020.

Taxes and license fees

The cost of these new licenses was originally set at €5m ($5.54m) each. However, following a backlash from operators, the cost of a license has now been dropped to €3m ($3.32m) in the hopes of opening up the competitive market.

Taxes from gross gaming revenue (GGR) will be set at 35% for all license holders. While this has been a previous sticking point for operators, they will have the ability to discount their GGR revenue before a further 20% corporation tax is applied.

The government had previously discussed including a €500,000 deposit for gambling companies undergoing a license review by the Greek Finance Ministry. However, this idea has now been dropped.

Other potential charges that have fallen by the wayside include a 15-20% tax on player winnings above €100 ($110) and €500 ($553) respectively.

Harsher penalties for blacklisted operators

However, there has been one non-negotiable stipulation and that is around blacklisted operators.

Operators who currently find themselves on the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s blacklist and those added to the list in the past 12 months will be banned from applying.

It is currently unknown whether operators placed on the list more than 12 months ago will be exempt from this new rule.

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