Online gaming operators in Greece have long awaited the granting of an international tender that paves the way for full licenses in this industry. At present, article 50 par. 12 of Law 4002/2012 states that operators can continue with their activities on the same. That is provided that they have a license allowing their operations and have been established in the European Union or European Economic Area Member States. The operators can keep up with service provision during the transitional period as they wait for the granting of relevant licenses.
All this may seem confusing to a person who is unfamiliar with the legal landscape as to gambling in Greece. Well, in the past, operators worked under what was better known as a transitional phase. This period was deemed indefinite, and the operators made do with temporary licenses. These permits fell under the .GR domain, with some companies using sub-licenses. What has changed?
The new laws dictate that only licensees can continue operating in Greece. These operators will not have the ability to sub-license, assign, or even dispose of their rights to offer gaming services in the region. For the rest of this article, we will look at what laws apply to operators as per the Hellenic gaming commission (HGC).
Operators can rely on Articles 190-204 for more information about what the licensing process will entail in the coming years. Generally, there will be two types of permits, each of which has a seven-year expiry period. Getting these licenses will set businesses back a whopping 3 million Euros for online games. Other establishments will have to part with 2 million Euros to get their hands of such a permit.
Operators can apply for both licenses, depending on the nature of their business. However, the granting of the licenses will come down to whether the establishments satisfy the requirements. They also need to pay the full price for the permits before getting their hands on them. Operators will be happy to know that as long as they comply with the law, they do not have caveats on the number of licenses.
Can you obtain a license? Above all requirements, operators have to reside in Greece, or a member state or the European Union. They can also get a permit if they live in the European Economic Area. Not meeting this requirement means that you cannot get a license, no matter how well you meet the other qualifications. The HGC is in charge of granting these permits, ensuring that all websites bear the suffix.gr.
The state has also maintained most of the provisions under L. 4002/2011, and anyone familiar with these will have an easy time navigating the new regulations. These include the maintenance of the blacklist, which comprises any companies that operate without the necessary permits. Such establishments are subject to punishment as stipulated by law.
While maintaining such provisions, the new regulations have included some other requirements. A good example would be the aspect of affiliates. These are parties that work with licensees to promote some games and place links on their websites. Some strict rules now apply to these parties under article 35 of Law 4002/2011.
The basis of all these changes owes to the need to create an environment that is not discriminatory towards gaming operators. As long as they abide by the law, they should be free to carry out their activities. These changes also encourage fairness and efficiency in the industry, creating more trust in this regulated sector.
These new laws affect all online games from which players derive some form of income, otherwise known as games of chance. The two licenses available in the market affect such games. The first relates to games of chance while the second refers to all other kinds of online games. The latter option includes poker and casino games but does not include other online games of chance. That leaves a loophole for other such games.
All operators running such games require licensing by the HGC. These games include bingo, casino, poker, lotteries, fantasy sports, and many others whose outcomes depend on chance. The statutory restrictions as to slot machines in land-based casinos stand at 25,000. It is important to note that there are no restrictions on games where success results from other factors such as points or virtual currencies. That leaves social gaming where no prizes or elements of chance are in play out of this category. Nevertheless, they also fall under the watch of the HGC.
That brings us to the definition of gambling under these new laws. The stipulations state that the result of the game must depend on luck for it to be a gamble, even to a small extent. Also, there must be a wager present, which depends on the result of the game.
For more information on Greece's gambling regulations and gambling in Greece, be sure to check out the latest laws on this. They are sure to wow both operators and consumers in the country.