Greece has apparently not only joined the list of countries flirting with regulating and taxing online gambling, but has moved to the top of the list.
International news agency Reuters has reported that the Eastern European nation with the notoriously nettled economy will license online betting by the end of 2011.
There are specific plans to award up to 50 internet gambling licenses, per the report — which was based on just one source, “a senior government official”.
“Opening up gaming will be a major step for the debt-ridden country, which hopes to get hundreds of millions of euros in extra revenues,” the Reuters article continues. “The move will also put it back in line with EU regulations and allow it to stop paying hefty fines to Brussels.”
The official expects the bill to be voted within the first quarter of 2011, with the goal of licensing companies “by the end of the year.”
And the European market continues to open up. EU regulators tend to insist that European countries offer foreign gambling websites, as in France, so new countries in the mix can potentially boost the market share of many of Europe’s existing online casinos.