Greece Ignores European Internet Gambling Law
In a recent publication the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) which represent a large portion of Europe’s remote internet casinos, said that they have filed a complaint with the European Commission (EC) concerning Greece’s new internet gambling law.
Greece Flouts EU Gambling Law
The Greek government imposed this restrictive law even though the European Commission expressed its concerns pertaining to its anti-competitive nature. As of late, the two organizations lodged a complaint to “a range of non-EU compliant barriers to new market entrants,” it includes the following:
“Internet casinos that operate in Greece must be based permanently in Greece, must be restricted to financial transactions through Greek banks only and must impose a higher age-limit restriction online than at land-based casinos.
“Internet gambling operators that operate in Greece must pay gambling taxes on profits gained from Greece-based punters since the 1st of January 2010 until the new licenses are issued. This provision represents a market entry fee that must be paid by all the internet casinos which cannot obtain an internet gambling license in Greece.”
To add on to the above the two organizations stipulated that: “The Greek Government has decided to grant OPAP, the incumbent monopoly gambling operator for offline games, an extension of its existing license for an additional 10 years from 2020 to 2030 in a wholly uncooperative and non-transparent fashion.
“OPAP presently pays not tax on gambling revenues on its offline activities, whereas internet must fork out a staggering 30 percent GGR. This baseless discrimination in tax has been lodged with the European Commission.”
Lastly, two separate statements were provided by the two heads of the organizations. Sigrid Ligné, said that Secretary General of EGBA stated that the “Commissioner Barnier confirmed to the European Parliament that he would ensure that Member States’ internet gambling legislation is in full compliance with the EU’s policies.
“To permit Greece to continue with this unwarranted legislation is a failure in itself. We have full confidence that the Commissioner will speedily investigate our compliant against Greece and take the necessary action against Greece and against other pending complaints.”
Clive Hawkswood, CEO of the RGA concluded: “We welcomed the opening of the Greek internet gambling market. However, it is imperative that any new regime is conducted in a fair and transparent manner which abides by EU rules. Where a regime is contrary to the provision of the Treaties, challenges are unfortunately necessary and unavoidable.
“It is up to the Commission now, as guardian of the Treaties, to enforce those provisions in relation to gambling, as the European Parliament recently requested.”