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Greece Eager to Join the Online Gambling Crowd

Greece Eager to Join the Online Gambling Crowd

Greece is moving very quickly to adopt more relaxed gambling laws, including passing new legislation that makes it legal to hold live poker tournaments in Greece as well as moving quickly to pass laws that woud give the Greek government a larger role in regulating (and taxing) online casino, poker, and sportsbetting sites.

Despite the objections of the EC and online gambling operators such as Betfair, the Greek government is considering fast-tracking new online gaming laws and regulations by attaching them to must-pass finance bills; like countries such as Italy, France, and Spain, the primary motivation for the Greek government is the potential to collect taxes directly from online sites operating in Greece.

The Greek government expects to raise between €750 million-€1 billion in 2011 alone from levying a 30% tax on gross profits for sites that offer online gambling games such as slots, blackjack, and poker. It expects to grant up to 50 licenses to operate online gambling sites and would require applicants to exit the market until their application is approved or denied.

In addition to taxes of 30% on gross profits, the Greek government is also considering charging a flat fee of €10 million for each five year gambling license that it awards to online operators.

Greece's dire financial situation is a big driver behind its sudden embrace of gambling; while many Greek citizens are active gamblers in the past the government was slow to officially endorse it by being directly involved in the licensing and regulation of online sites.

While regulation and taxation efforts in Italy and France haven't met with huge success (with revenues collected coming in below initial expectations), countries such as Spain and Greece have been moving quickly to adopt a similar model, with the lure of additional tax money proving hard to ignore.

04-Aug-2011, 05:21

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