Greece Eases Controversial Online Restrictions

May 24, 2022
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​​​​​​​Greece has increased the maximum online wager stake by ten times, doubled the maximum amount a player can win in a single bet and reduced the time players have to wait in between placing wagers.

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Greece has increased the maximum online wager stake by ten times, doubled the maximum amount a player can win in a single bet and reduced the time players have to wait in between placing wagers.

The raft of regulatory changes were announced by finance minister Christos Staikouras on May 18 and came into force on May 20 after they were published in the country’s official gazette.

Players can now wager a maximum of €20 instead of €2 on online casino games, poker and variations of poker based on a random number generator (RNG).

The maximum amount of winnings in these games of chance is now €140,000 per game cycle instead of €70,000, including the value of all additional game rewards, excluding any jackpot award.

Players will also now only have to wait two seconds instead of three when starting a new game round.

Alongside the changes, online operators have been granted an extension until December 31 to connect their systems to the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC), as opposed to the original timeline that would have required being connected by Summer 2022.

Greece's online gambling market surpassed €700m in revenue for the first time in 2021, helping the country to reach total gross gaming revenue (GGR) of €1.86bn from all gambling products, up 14.5 percent from 2020.

Despite this, the government's share taken as gaming taxes still dropped to €558.74m in 2021, €70m lower than €628.87m in 2020.

There were fears expressed by operators and politicians that the leak in taxes is partly caused by players being driven to unlicensed operators to avoid the previous tough online restrictions.

Operators were also hit hard by the restrictions introduced in 2021, as some online licensees claimed they had lost up to 50 percent of their revenue from RNG games within the first month of the restrictions coming into effect.

In April 2022, the HGC sent the Ministry of Finance the results of a study it had commissioned from auditors EY and recommended an increase in the maximum online slots stake from the current limit of €2 per bet to €20.

Dimitris Ntzanatos, the HGC's president, himself a former audit boss at Grant Thornton, endorsed the EY study.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was believed to oppose changing the restrictions; however, Greece’s government is also in dire need of improving its financial situation, making increased tax collection from the industry more appealing.

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