This August, the Greek Gaming Law was approved by Parliament and officially came into effect, changing the way Greek gambling operators run their businesses. The law covers both Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and online betting and gambling (with the exception of forex). On the VLT front, Greece’s sports betting monopoly OPAP will receive a renewable 10-year state license for the management of 35,000 VLTs from which 16,500 are to be installed in its own network and the rest to be offered to third parties through four to ten renewable licenses.
Terms of the License
OPAP’s license will become effective one year after issue, so we should expect the roll-out of the VLT network towards the end of the coming year. Any VLT rights not deployed a year after the license or 24 months after the sub-licenses have been issued, can again be made available through an international call. Unverified information has the VLT license fee at about €15,000 per VLT and the VLT cost at around the same level as there are rumors that OPAP will also themselves distribute the VLTs under license.
On the online front, the under-formation Gambling Commission will open a call for renewable 5-year online gaming licenses. The first draft of the law stated the issuing of 10-50 licenses but as there were complaints the actual number was removed and will be defined soon. Again, the rumors say that the online gaming license will be in the order of €1-5 million for the 5-year license and with the higher end of the valuation to be more likely.
In terms of the business model, if one is to participate in the market, the requirement is to pay the license fee in full, in advance for the 5 or 10 year license, plus a 30 percent state Gross Profit participation, which is tax deductible. In addition to that, the going taxation rate on net profits is added thereafter. In the case of the VLTs the law also mentions an annual operating fee paid in advance and calculated taking into account the number and location of the VLTs. This seems like a tax payment in advance, but it’s not clear yet.
What The New Law Means for Players
On the player side there is a 10 percent tax on their winnings. The minimum payout for all games has been established at 80 percent and there are strict guidelines in regards to the payment process and cash reserves the operator must follow and maintain at all times. To obtain an online gaming license the candidate must have a locally incorporated company, with a minimum deposited capital of €200,000 and a €100,000 bank guarantee submitted with the application and returned to the applicant one year after the obtained license expires.
What the New Law Means for Operators
The implementation of the Greek Gaming Law will be overseen and managed by the Gambling Commission (GC/ΕΕΕΠ), which is still under formation.
The GC will implement a monitoring and control IT system that will require all license holders to provide, at real-time, data concerning the gaming activities, financial transactions and the players involved. To control online gaming, operators must:
- use a .gr domain;
- operator IT infrastructure is required to be hosted locally
- ISPs and mobile operators are required to block non-licensed domains with the guidance of the commission
- all payments need to be processed by a locally based financial institution
- media should advertise and promote only licensed operators
- all players must first obtain a unique Player ID created after submitting personal ID and Tax ID information
Interestingly enough the approval of the Greek Gaming law also brought onto the surface a vibrant local technology scene. There is significant activity with many interesting cases such as Betcafe, a new social betting platform, and Fortuna Click, a software company that offers a complete online betting and gambling platform with bet-shop and mobile platform extensions. However, some small VLT manufacturers have questionable futures now that OPAP is debating whether to distribute the licensed VLTs themselves.
Konstantinos Veletas started his career in iGaming in 2002 when he successfully built an affiliate network, primarily consisted by sports webpages and forums targeting the markets of central and eastern Europe. In 2010, he moved to the other side of the industry helping with Club Gold Casino project management and eventually became the marketing manager of the brand.
To learn more about Club Gold Casino Partners, check out http://www.clubgoldcasino.com/CAP/.