The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) is seeking legal ways at both EU and Greek national levels to challenge the OPAP (Hellenic Football Prognostics Organization), the company that operates the state monopoly on online gambling and internet betting in Greece.
The RGA actions follows Greek government’s measures which close the Greek online gambling market to competition and protect OPAP.
The anti-online gambling regulations announced last week include fines and other sanctions on operators, ISP-s, media companies, payment operators and the customers themselves. Some Operators have already received “cease and desist” letters from the Greek Gambling Commission.
According to the government, the new Greek gambling laws are pursuant to the regulation from 2011, which offered new licensing for online gambling operators. However, the process has not even begun yet.
RGA chief executive Clive Hawkswood commented: “These measures have clearly been introduced in haste and we cannot believe that they have been approved by the European Commission. They are blatantly protectionist in nature and if EU Internal Market rules mean anything then the European Commission must take prompt action to make Greece reconsider.”
Hawkswood added: “However, for obvious reasons, we are also looking at potential action in the Greek courts.”
Hawkswood emphasized: “Whether it is raised in Brussels or Athens, nobody could fail to note coincidence that these measures have been rushed through with a ridiculously short deadline at a time when the Greek Government is actively looking to sell its share in OPAP, which currently has a monopoly in exactly the markets where our members would inevitably compete directly with it.”
The RGA is the largest and most influential online gambling trade association in the world. It represents the biggest licensed remote gambling operators and software providers.