The union of sales agents for OPAP, the lottery and sports betting monology which the Greek government finally privatized, went on strike from January 7th until January 8th and have threatened more labor protests if the government does not change its rulings for taxing the betting agents.
Even though OPAP is now only 34% owned by the state, Greek gambling laws still permit their monopoly to continue till the year 2020. As such, only the 5,300 OPAP agents are allowed to retail the Greek gambling firm’s products.
In May, a new tax system was determined by Greek politicians as a measure to mend the hole in Greece’s economy. One new rule has OPAP agents paying according to profits instead of revenues. This forces all OPAP agents to keep books.
The union has declared “The ministry [of finance] has not reached the solution that we want to our tax problem.” They are seeking guarantees to perpetuate their exclusive right to market OPAP products and services to gamblers, as they fear the Greek government may allow foreign competition to conduct internet betting in Greece.
The change to OPAP taxes is only one of many measures now being taken by the Greek government. 2011 Greek gambling laws may enable internet gambling to create $1.3 billion in revenue. Other changes include privatizing ODIE and removing restrictions on slot machines Many of these changes have a collateral benefit of bringing Greek gambling laws into alignment with the will of the European Commission.