On the other hand, the land-based casinos and betting shops were still doing business and thriving. According to Laws 2206/1996 and 3139/2003, casino gambling was confined to nine licensed brick-and-mortar casinos, while sports betting, land-based slots, and the country’s lottery were the sole prerogatives of the Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics (OPAP).
However, in 2011, under the provisions of Law No. 4002/2011, the 24 existing online operators in the market were given transitional licenses until a new legal and framework was established. What’s more, the bill saw the establishment of the Hellenic Gaming Commission, or HGC, tasked with overseeing gambling in the country. The HGC immediately instructed the existing operators that their websites must have the suffix .gr, compiled a blacklist of companies operating without the necessary license, and introduced several other restrictions.
Then, the long-awaited framework was proposed by the Greek Minister of Finance in 2018 and was finally ratified by the Greek Parliament in 2019 as a part of an Invest in Greece package of laws aimed at bringing more investors to the country.
The new bill, dubbed the Gambling Reform Act, expanded on Law No. 4002/2011 and set new rules of taxation. It allowed transitional license holders to offer RNG-powered casino games, imposed new betting rules and limits, such as a three-second spin limit on slots, and many other changes.
For example, operators can only offer games to individuals aged 21+. The maximum stake in any game is capped at €2, while the maximum prize limit per gaming session is €5,000. On the other hand, the biggest jackpot allowed is €70,000, heavily limiting progressive jackpot games. On the other hand, sports wagers can yield wins up to €500,000.
Gambling ads about slots are restricted to gambling websites and will be strictly controlled.
Types of Greek Gambling Licenses
The Greek gambling licenses can be divided according to the gambling vertical in question. For land-based casinos, we can differentiate between two types:
- The simple type casino license — issued for 15 years plus a 10-year renewal.
- The resort or integrated casino license — issued for 30 years plus a 20-year renewal.
Then, there are the land-based sports betting shop and lottery licenses granted to OPAP, which has a state-funded monopoly.
Finally, in the realm of online gambling, the new law recognises two types of licenses:
- The online casino license
- The online betting license
Interim license holders had until March 31, 2020 to decide whether they would apply for a permanent license. As of October 1, 2020, the Hellenic Gambling Commission is open to new applications. The number of applicants is not limited, and they can hold both online casino and sports betting licenses.
Gambling Law Advantages
According to data from HGC, the gross gaming revenue in 2019 was over 1.3 billion euros, which positions the Greek market as one of the fastest-growing in Europe. The legislation allows operators to hold licenses for online casino and sports betting, enabling them to have multiple revenue streams. Their prices have been drastically reduced under the Gambling Reform Act, from €5 million to €3 million for online betting and €2 million for online casino gaming.
What’s more, licenses are now issued for seven years, rather than the previous 5-year mandate. The corporate tax is reduced to 20%, and more importantly, it is applied before the GGR taxes.
All in all, with a Greek gambling license, any gambling platform can enjoy the perks of conducting business in a highly regulated market inside the European Economic Area (EEA), with considerable room for growth.
Key Requirements to Get a Licence
Some of the critical requirements gambling operators need to meet to conduct business in Greece are as follows:
- A permanent residence or a registered establishment in Greece or another member state of the European Union is required.
- The applicant must not be convicted of any criminal activities or felonies, financial, sex, or drug offences.
- The applicant’s servers must be located in Greece and connected to the HGC as per Article 30 of Law 4002/2011.
- The applicants must pay all due costs and conform to any requirements by the HGC.
License Cost and Taxes
An online casino license is €2 million, while an online sportsbook license is €3 million. The tax charge on gross gambling revenue is 35%, while the corporate tax is 20% and is applied before the GGR taxes. The validity period of each license is seven years. The customers’ winnings are also subject to tax. Any winnings up to €100 are exempt from taxation, while winnings up to €500 incur a 15% tax. All those that exceed €500 will entail a tax rate of 20%.
The application procedure begins with the choice of license. After that, the necessary documentation that includes certificates of non-conviction, the sources of funds, the company registration, the location of servers, and others are sent to the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) for evaluation. The application fee that needs to be paid to HGC is non-refundable and is set at €10,000.
Apart from the corporate and GGR taxes and license costs which are undoubtedly high, there is no annual fee. License renewals incur the same charges as when they were first issued.