The Greek gambling market has roared back to life after years of decline brought about by the country’s devastating economic collapse.

According to the latest numbers from the Greek Gaming Oversight and Control Commission (EEEP), the country’s gamblers boosted industry revenues by a whopping 9% in 2014, over the previous.

Even better, for the Greek gambling industry anyways, is the fact the average wager size has increased, too. In 2014 it was €187 ($209 USD), that’s up from €172 ($172 USD).

All told, Greek gamblers wagered about €5.9 billion ($6.62 USD) in 2014. This number is even more impressive when one considers the depth of the Greek financial crisis and the impact it’s had on everyday Greeks.

Since the Greek financial meltdown of 2009, nearly every industry (and person) on the Greek Isles have experienced some serious financial pain.

For example, as of April, 2015, the Greek unemployment rate was a mind-boggling 25.7%. In some groups, such as young has soared to more than 50%.

Gambling operators with an eye towards the Greek market can take comfort in the fact the newly installed Greek government is very friendly towards the industry.

Earlier this year, the ruling Syriza Party announced that it would be issuing a slew of new online operator licenses in the hopes of raising somewhere in the neighborhood of €500 million ($561 USD) in new, annual revenue.

That kind of market liberalization is what other European governments have talked about doing, but relatively few of them have actually followed through on. (Germany, we’re talking about you.)

The massive growth of Greek gambling, much of which is centered on lotteries, begs the question, “Are average Greeks trying to gamble their way out of poverty?” On its face, it sure seems that way. But given the depths of the crisis in that country, that’s hardly surprising news.

 


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