Gambling Laws in Greece

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Robin Storm
Senior Author
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Greece has had a tumultuous recent history due to political unrest, but how has this impacted the legal landscape of gambling in the country? Not to mention the longstanding monopoly of the country's OPAP.

Gambling regulations in greece

Which Types of Gambling Are Legal in Greece?

The legal situation of gambling is slightly complicated, with all forms of 'electronic gaming' being banned in 2002. The government then realised that this made non-gambling activities such as playing home consoles illegal, too!

In 2011 the Gambling Act clarified the situation, making land-based casinos and online gambling sites legal. The idea was to raise much-needed funds by developing a licensing programme for prospective private operators. As a result, 24 interim licences were issued in anticipation.

However, in 2012 plans were drawn up for the newly emerging market to be monopolised by the state-owned OPAP (Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics). This violated the EU's fair market and competition laws. Interim licence holders were then advised to start winding down their operations and many left the market. After many years of pressure, the now privatised OPAP's monopoly on poker, bingo and casino games ended in 2021. The country now awards licences for the newly emerging markets. OPAP continued to monopolise land-based sports betting and offline/online lotteries until 2023.

Land-Based and Online Casino Games

After initial confusion over what constituted as gambling, Greece then made casinos legal. The Hellenic Gaming Commission issues land-based and online licences in Greece, and there are currently nine venues in operation.

Some 15 or so online gambling sites licences have been issued since the market was regulated and OPAP lost its monopoly in 2021.

Playing Poker

Offline poker games can be found at the nine land-based casinos nationwide. Video machines form part of the many slot halls which are separate from the casinos. Playing the game at home with friends is also permitted so long as no commercial profits are made.

While the online poker industry is just starting to take off, many residents head to the biggest online casinos in Europe. Whilst this is technically illegal, it still happens. Thankfully, since dismantling the OPAP monopoly and regulating the industry, private operators can now apply for online licences from the Hellenic Gaming Commission.

Bingo Gambling

Bingo is an interesting case in Greece as the law doesn't mention it. Although the game fits the description of gambling, none of the current licence holders operate a bingo brand.

Whilst online bingo gambling is legally permitted, this is also not offered by existing Greek operators.

Lottery Tickets, Instant Win Games and Scratch Cards

OPAP continues to have a monopoly on offline and online lotteries in Greece after being granted an extension to 2023. As a result, the company is one of the few non-state-owned organisations to run a national lottery. Residents can also gamble in raffles, as well as purchase instant games, scratch cards and keno.

OPAP also controls online sales of tickets, although the company doesn't currently sell all of its products online.

Social Gambling and Online Crypto Casinos

Private social card games in residences are legal as long as no profit beyond winnings is made. Social casinos which allow players to access slots and tables using free chips, are also legal. These are not considered gambling as money isn't being exchanged.

Loot boxes and skins gambling remain unregulated in Greece as they are not mentioned in the current laws.

Cryptocurrencies are welcome and residents can freely sell, buy and trade these. Though there aren't any existing laws which fully regulate the industry. None of the existing gambling operators in the country accept virtual coins as a means of payment either. Those looking to play online with their coins would need to register at one of the many crypto casinos which accept players from the country. Though this would be classed as an illegal activity, there haven't been any prosecutions made to date.

Sportsbet laws

Is Sports Betting Legal in Greece?

OPAP once again holds the monopoly on this, with Greek punters having to settle for the very few sports betting markets offered by the company. These currently extend only to football, greyhound and horse racing and virtual sports.

OPAP also held the monopoly on online sports betting up until 2021, after which point the market was opened to licence applications from private operators.

Gambling Age Restrictions

You must be at least 21 to enter a gambling establishment, although some places may require you to be at least 23.

Greek Gambling Tax Regulations

The law means operators are charged a significant amount of tax compared to those operating in other similar countries. Those offering horse race betting are charged 30%, while all others are charged 35% tax on revenues.

Players are also taxed on their winnings from gambling, with wins from €100 to €500 charged 15% and anything over €500 charged at 20%.

History of Gambling Laws in Greece

Greece once had a hardline stance against all forms of gambling, which came about when online casinos began growing in popularity around 2000. Shortly after in 2002, the government put these sentiments into practice with Law 3037/2002, making all forms of gambling illegal.

However, no distinction was made between gambling and other forms of gaming, such as home console gameplay. A new more lenient law remedied this and the 2011 Gambling Act was implemented. This made offline slot machines and online gambling legal, subject to licensing and regulation.

Complications arose when the 24 interim licence holders initially awarded licences were told to wind down operations in light of OPAP. A 1958 state-owned company plagued by accusations of corruption.

The EU Court of Justice ruled that this violated European fair market and competition laws. In 2021, OPAP's monopoly on poker, bingo, casino games and online sports betting was overturned, with the Hellenic Gaming Commission issuing licences since.

Key facts

Key Facts

  • Gambling has been legal in Greece since 2012 after the enactment of the 2011 Gambling Act.

  • Land-based sports betting and offline and online lotteries are both monopolies of OPAP.

  • All other forms of gambling, i.e. bingo, poker, online casino slots and online sports betting are legal and subject to regulation by the Hellenic Gaming Commission.

Robin Storm

Robin Storm

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Robin works tirelessly to make gambling fun and worry-free for all players. With his impressive industry experience, he is passionate about being able to play casino games in a fun and safe environment, ensuring players avoid all the hassles that may appear.
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