It seems there will be further delays before the final revision of Greek gambling laws will be ready for a vote. The county is reluctantly being forced to liberalize its gambling industry and introduce competitive online casino gambling to bring more revenue to state coffers and revive the struggling Greek economy.
So far the country had little success agreeing to a compromise that is acceptable for the socialist government, the gambling industry and the European Union.
There were rumors that the Greek government was expected to auction at least 50 gambling licenses that will cover both traditional casinos as well as permit license holders to offer internet betting in Greece. The large number of licenses was to ensure that gaming companies based in other EU member states could participate in the Greek market.
Newly issued licenses will also make it possible to set up thousands of video lottery terminals in clubs and pubs throughout the country by the end of the year. A government official commented that “The bill is expected to be voted within the first quarter of the year. Our aim is to tender the licenses by the end of the year.”
However, the draft of the new bill was not accepted by everyone and was returned to policy makers for revision. Subsequently the changes were sent to the European Commission (EC), yet were not approved and the whole process returned to the starting point.
In order to breathe new life into the legislation draft Greece is shopping around for a consultant to help with policy, taxes and their implementation. Greece is considering hiring French gaming operator PMU (Pari Mutuel Urbain) to advise with the privatization of the gambling industry and to consult on future Greek gambling laws.
This week, Top PMU officials met Greek Secretary of Public Ventures Georges Kyriakos, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, Greek Minister of State for Investment Haris Pampoukis and Development Minister Michalis Chryssohoïdes. The Greek government’s share in the gambling industry is expected to fall from the current 51% to 34%.
Once the new framework is palatable to all parties involved and becomes law, online gambling sites in Greece are expected to generate 700 million Euro in taxes and license fees.