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Greece has had a tumultuous recent history due to political unrest, but how has that impacted the legal landscape of gambling in the country? Here, we look at online gambling laws in Greece, including the longstanding monopoly of the country's OPAP, to see the current situation.

Gambling regulations in greece

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The legal situation of gambling in Greece is slightly complicated, with all forms of 'electronic gaming' banned in 2002 before the government realized that this effectively made non-gambling activities such as playing home console games illegal, too!

In 2011, the Gambling Act clarified the situation, making land-based slots and online gambling legal in the country. The idea was to raise much-needed funds by developing a licensing programme for prospective private operators, and 24 interim licences were issued in anticipation.

However, in 2012, plans were drawn up for the newly emerging online gambling market to be monopolized by the state-owned OPAP (Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics), which violated the EU's fair market and competition laws. Interim licence holders were advised to start winding down operations, and many operators left the market.

After many years of pressure, the now privatized OPAP's monopoly on poker, bingo and casino games ended in 2021, with the country now awarding licences for the newly emerging market. OPAP still monopolizes land-based sports betting and offline and online lotteries in the country until 2023.

Casino Games

After initial confusion over what constituted gambling, Greece made casino gaming legal in the country. The Hellenic Gaming Commission issues land-based and online licences in Greece, and nine currency casinos operate there.

Some 15 or so online gambling sites licences have been issued since the market was regulated and OPAP lost its monopoly in 2021.

Poker

Although OPAP monopolized online poker in Greece until 2021, it never took advantage, so no online poker sites are currently based in the country. Since dismantling the monopoly and regulation of the industry, private operators can now apply for an online poker licence from the Hellenic Gaming Commission.

Offline poker games can be found at the nine land-based casinos nationwide. Video poker machines are part of the many slot halls separate from the country's casinos. While the online poker industry in the country is just starting to take off, many Greek players can access the numerous offshore online casinos to enjoy a game of online poker.

Bingo

The bingo game is an interesting case in Greece as the law doesn't mention it. Although the game fits the description of gambling as defined by the law, none of the current licence holders operate a bingo brand.

Since OPAP still maintains a monopoly on sports betting and lotteries, and bingo is often classified as a type of lottery, you might assume that OPAP runs bingo casinos online, but there are currently none. Whether the game is absent due to a lack of popularity or because current licence holders don't want to risk it, the legal standpoint regarding offline and online bingo is that it is permitted by law.

Lotteries

OPAP continues to run a monopoly on offline and online lotteries in Greece after being granted an extension to 2023. As a result, the 2013 privatized company is one of the few non-state-owned organizations to run a national lottery. OPAP controls all lottery games, including raffles, instant games, scratch cards, keno and some forms of bingo.

OPAP also controls online sales of lottery tickets, although the company doesn't currently sell all of its lottery products online. Of course, many Greeks have little trouble joining one of the many online sites where you can play online lottery games for real money.

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While activities such as virtual sports and daily fantasy sports are legislated for and fall under current gambling regulations, the various social games available today are not included in current laws in the country. That means the law does not mention names such as those offering loot boxes and those operating as a gambling activity but without real cash.

Sportsbet laws

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When it comes to sports betting at local bookmakers, OPAP once again holds the monopoly on the activity, with Greek punters having to settle for the very few sports betting markets offered by the company, which extend only to football, greyhounds, horse racing and virtual sports.

OPAP also held the monopoly on online sports betting up until 2021, after which point the market was opened to licence applications from private operators. This is expected to increase the number of people betting on sports online as the activity is a popular pastime amongst Greek residents.

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In Greece, you must be at least 21 to enter a gambling establishment, although some places may require you to be at least 23.

Tax Regulation

The Greek gambling tax regulation law means operators are charged a significant amount of tax compared to those operating in other similar countries. Those offering horse racing betting are charged 30% tax, while all other operators are charged 35% tax on their gambling revenues.

Players are also taxed on their winnings from gambling, with wins from €100 to €500 charged 15% tax and anything over €500 charged 20% tax.

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Greece once had a hardline stance against all forms of gambling, which came about when online casinos began growing exponentially in popularity around 2000. Shortly after, in 2002, the Greek government put these sentiments into practice with Law 3037/2002, making all forms of gambling illegal in the country.

However, no distinction was made between gambling and other forms of gaming, such as home console gameplay. A new, more lenient law remedied this, the 2011 Gambling Act, which made offline slot machines and online gambling legal and subject to licensing and regulation.

Complications arose when the 24 interim licence holders initially awarded licences were told to wind down operations in light of OPAP, a 1958 launched state-owned company plagued by accusations of corruption, being allowed to maintain a monopoly on almost all forms of gambling in the country.

The EU Court of Justice ruled that this violated European fair market and competition laws. In 2021, OPAP's monopoly on poker, bingo, casino games and online sports betting was overturned, with the Hellenic Gaming Commission issuing numerous licences to private companies since then.

Key facts

Key Facts

Here are the key points to bear in mind about gambling in Greece:

  • Gambling has been legal in Greece since 2012 after the enactment of the 2011 Gambling Act.
  • Land-based sports betting and offline and online lotteries are both the monopolies of OPAP.
  • All other forms of gambling, i.e. bingo, poker, online casino slots gaming and online sports betting, are legal and subject to regulation by the Hellenic Gaming Commission.
Robin Storm
Author & Casino Games Expert Robin Storm verified symbol
Always looking for the best and latest games that hit the market, Robin works hard to make gambling fun and worry-free for all players. His years of experience working in the industry allows him to research and write about all the online slots' do's and don'ts. So if you have any doubts about new slots and table games, Robin's articles will answer all your questions about RTP, Volatility, Themes, Gameplay and so much more. He is very passionate about being able to play casino games in a fun and safe environment and he is enthusiastic to share how to play the most popular games at your favourite online casinos and avoid all the hassle in his articles.
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