Greek Taxes Creating An Unattractive iPoker EnvironmentApril 27, 2016 11:42 am
The Greek economic crisis broke in 2010, and six years on the country is still reeling from an unemployment rate of more than 30%, as well as a national debt in excess of $350 billion. With the situation showing little sign of abating, Greece has been forced to comply with a number of proposals suggested by the Troika in order to receive further loans, including introducing new online gambling legislation in 2016.
According to the Government, the new rules will be strict and will also include a huge tax rate of 35% on gross gaming revenue (GGR), making it one of the highest in the whole of Europe. Needless to say, the news is likely to make Greece’s online gambling market even less attractive than it already is for companies and players alike, and will most likely result in more players turning towards unregulated offshore sites, instead.
Further costs to operators include shelling out for a €3 million ($3.3m) iGaming license, and being required to pay a minimum tax rate of $1 million per annum, the outcome of which is expected to result in more than $550 million in governmental revenues each year.
One of the gambling companies already operating in Greece is Amaya, whose flagship site PokerStars is currently running under a temporary license along with around 20 other firms. Tax requirements previously introduced by the government, however, have already made these firms’ poker operations almost untenable, especially as players must pay income tax on any amount won in a 24 hour period, which cannot be offset by losses incurred the very next day.
Case in point, Greek online poker pro ‘Pokerfan89gr’ won $53,000 on the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up in February, and almost immediately had to cough up a large chunk of it as tax. He says he is now considering moving away from the country in order to pursue his poker career, and as he explained at the time:
“It sucks because of the ridiculous tax. Most Greek pros or people who want to play a lot have to move or stop playing entirely. (The government) tax daily. At 7:00am each day, they take 20% of your winnings. It’s automatically taken from your account.”