Greek Protectionist Attitude to Online Gambling Questioned

Greek Protectionist Attitude to Online Gambling QuestionedThere has been much dissatisfaction with several European countries which it is felt are breaching European Union laws concerning online gambling. Greece is one of these countries which attracts complaints against its actions in the online gambling sector, which are looked upon as being protectionist. This situation has been going on for quite a while. As far back as 2012, the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), had asked the European Commission to look into the changes introduced by the Greek government in relation to online gambling.
The RGA stated at the time that newly introduced taxes and also the fact that operators from outside Greece would have to apply for an Greek gambling licence and pay back dated taxes on any profits they made in the two years prior to 2012, amount to protectionism and discriminate against operators from outside the country.In 2013 the Remote Gambling Association and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) have joined forces to make a joint complaint to the European Commission against Greek protectionism.
They list several ways in which the Greek online gambling regulations breach European Union legislation. These include the fact that OPAP, the Greek state controlled land based gambling operator has been granted an extension to become an online monopoly. Under this agreement OPAP has exclusive rights to online sports betting until 2020 and to online casino gambling until 2030.  Another complaint is that there will be a blacklist of unlicensed operators and the regulations permit internet blocking of these online gambling operators. The RGA and the EGBA say that this contravenes the European Union laws governing the free movement of services within the Union.
Some operators applied for and were granted temporary Greek licences and hoped to apply for full licences in the future but these temporary licences have been disallowed. Also, since the Gambling Act was introduced in 2011 there have not been any complete online gambling licences granted. Since the Greek gambling authorities will have a blacklist of all the online casinos available in the country, even those operators who hold an European Union licence will not be allowed to offer their services in Greece.

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