Regulated Gambling Products: Sports Betting, Online Casino, Poker
Operator types: Online Betting Sites & Land based shops
Designated authority: Hellenic Gaming Commission (ΕΕΕΠ)
Status: Semi regulated online bookmakers, land based shops monopoly (OPAP)
Greece is located in southeastern Europe and is bordered in the north by Albania, FYROM, Bulgaria and in the east by Turkey. Although mostly known as the birthplace of the Western civilization, the debt ridden country is lately being mentioned for its striking poverty levels. Of course this does not stop Greeks from wagering, especially on online betting firms, as gambling is closely knit to their culture and amounts to almost 1% of the total GDP.
Did you know that…
- Players under the age of 21 are restricted from online betting
- Land based shops can only be operated by OPAP
- Winnings taxes are calculated on a bet lines basis. Winnings up to 100€ per bet line are tax free, from €100 up to €500 Greeks must pay 15% on their net winnings, from €500 upwards a 20% tax has to be paid on net winnings.
- Some payment methods are not available due to capital controls being imposed
- Although certain bookmakers have not (yet) received a license from the HGC, they have kept accepting Greek players
Top 3 betting sites for Greeks
Currently 24 bookmakers (local and foreign) have managed to obtain a temporary license from the regulatory authority of Greece (ΕΕΕΠ). They are supposed to pay around 30-35% tax on the gross gaming revenue, although this might change in the future, after government speculations of poor tax efficiency. Betting firms that do not possess a license are forbidden from offering a sportsbook. However, many unlicensed operators keep accepting Greek players, as not further legal action can be taken against them, apart from their domains being blocked.
Players generally choose to bet on any of the 24 licensed betting companies, betting shops operated by OPAP, while a small number, keeps punting on certain unlicensed bookies. Given that land based shops are monopolized, the odds they offer are significantly smaller compared to online bookies. Taxation on winnings is calculated based on bet lines (1 bet line=€0.30) and apply only when payouts surpass the 100€ mark per bet line . In order to deter minors from wagering, bettors must validate their identity by sending a copy of their ID and proof of residence.
Competition between bookmakers
Although only a handful of online bookies are allowed to offer their services, competition is fierce between the licensed betting sites in Greece. Foreign bookmakers have the most significant presence, such as Bet365 Greece, Sportingbet, Interwetten, while the Greek “Stoiximan” is one of the top choices for local bettors. Although most of them are regulated in Malta by the MGA, 2winbet & Goalbet fall under Estonian jurisdiction (ETCB), while Sportingbet and Vistabet are regulated in the UK (UKGC). Like we mentioned beforehand, there is no competition on land based shops, as they can only operate through an OPAP franchise.
Deposits and Withdrawals
There are many ways a Greek punter can use to top up his account. Gambling e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller are widely accepted, while the majority of punters prefer Paysafe cards. The Greek payment service provider VIVA, has managed to gain a significant share on the local betting market, by offering many solutions like the Viva wallet and the Viva debit card.
The most significant problem Greek bettors face, are the capital controls imposed on outgoing transactions. This in short means that Greeks are restricted from surpassing a certain amount of money on ATM withdrawals each month, while there are certain limits placed on how much money they can send abroad, through bank wire transfers. In betting, this applies to fewer payment methods, many bookies not accepting certain credit cards, while bank transfers in some cases can not be completed.
Book Spy’s Comment
Greeks love betting, that’s for sure. They still spend almost 1% of GDP especially to sports betting, besides being almost two years under strict capital controls and having a tremendous foreign debt, which threatens even the most prosperous’ way of living. There exists a monopoly in land based shops, but most bettors (and vast majority of the younger ones) use online bookmakers as well. The age restrictions do exist, but no shop will require any ID when accepting a betting coupon. The market is not fully regulated, as there are many bookmakers such as the 21bet exchange who have not obtained a license, but are still accepting Greek punters. Apart from these problems, Greece is still considered a reliable betting market. However, up to 2020 all licenses given by the Greek State are considered as temporary, as former state-owned bookmaker OPAP still claims monopoly.
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