Greece Says Moving Forward With iGambling LegislationJanuary 19, 2016 2:46 pm
Greece is struggling with a huge debt of around €323 billion ($356bn), and has been receiving financing from the eurozone, as well as other lenders, in order to reduce its economic crisis. The money comes with a number of stipulations, though, including finding new revenue streams to boost its economy. Last year, the Greek government subsequently announced its intention to issue more Internet casinos licenses, a decision made easier now that it has sold its stake in the country’s previous betting monopoly run by OPAP.
Ten months later, and the Greek government has said it is now moving forward with its licensing legislation, which calls for granting five-year online licenses at a cost of €3 million each, and a minimum annual tax rate of $1 million. Although the actual tax rate is to be determined later, according to estimates the new regime could result in an extra €500 million being channeled into government coffers each year.
While some analysts have seen this figure as being too optimistic, especially considering the population of Greece is just 11 million people, others see international companies as more open to pay the higher cost of doing business in Greece, particualrly as the country has seen a rise in gambling activity since the start of its economic crisis. Unfortunately, this has also lead to an increase in gambling addiction, and while in 2010 the average age a Greek would start gambling was 25, by 2015 than number had fallen to just 20 years old. According to the KETHEA Therapy Center for Dependent Individuals, there has also been a 5% increase in the number of gambling addicts seeking help during this same period of time.
In the meantime, despite its words the Syriza government has not provided any hard details about the planned regulatory changes it intends to make. Needless to say, the longer the situation drags on, the longer it will take for Greece’s gambling industry to ultimately reach its full potential.