Greek operator OPAP could maintain an online betting monopoly until 2020 if reports coming out of the Hellenic Republic are to be believed. eGR reports the country’s Ministry of Finance has submitted a new bill that would amend Greek law 4002/2011 and cancel licences already handed out to 24 firms that have paid taxes to carry on trading since the licensing process began. It’s very likely that these operators will now have to shut down operations before January and it remains very unlikely they’ll claw back any of the amounts they paid to be able to operate. The news comes on the day before Greece’s Dec. 6 deadline for unlicensed operators to GTFO or face fines, jail or “severe administrative penalties”. Betfair and William Hill had already done the sensible thing and announced their departure from the market in light of the suggested penalties and Greece is certainly doing its best to keep outsiders out.
Two of Europe’s iGaming industry bodies – the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA) – have continually bemoaned the country’s attitude towards iGaming. The complaints, all filed with the EU, have so far stressed to the European Union that the laws don’t fit with continental law and are unconstitutional.
CalvinAyre.com contacted the EGBA and Sigrid Ligne, secretary general, told us: “Greece has a long history of non-compliance of its gambling legislation with EU law. The various developments in the last few months confirm the total inconsistency of the Greek gambling policy and the fact that the national authorities have no intention to organize the market as to ensure that EU regulated operators are offered a fair and non-discriminatory access. The European Commission has faced a multiplication of complaints adding to the existing infringement procedure initiated in 2007. It is now time for the European Commission to step up legal action against Greece and restore much needed legal certainty”.
In terms of what happens now, we can expect any company that doesn’t have a licence to face sanctions if they don’t stop operating and if new sole-CEO bwin.party Norbert Teufelberger is worried about it meaning more jail-time then he could be correct.