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Greece Online Gambling Expansion May Run Into EC Complications

4 August 2011 by admin

Most people have heard about the crisis with the Greek national debt. Some, especially those in the online gambling industry, have heard about how the Greeks intend to raise a portion of the money they need through an expansion of online gambling within their country. Just this past Monday we here at brought to your attention the Greek online gambling plan that would allow them to potentially raise €5 billion ($7.2 billion) by the year’s end.

But that plan could hit a snag in the form of the European Commission. The plans in Greece for their online casino gaming expansion appear to clash with laws set forth by the European Union, and the EC is watching Greece closely to see if they will indeed move forward with their expansion plans despite warnings that they could face legal proceedings from the EC for not working within EU laws.

On Monday we told you about how the Greek plan included the strategic sale of shares of OPAP, the state-run Greek gambling monopoly. The sale would be strategic so that the government does not lose management and control of OPAP. The plans also included legalizing slot machines, but the big expansion would have been in the online casino gambling sector.

But now other plans of the expansion have been brought to light. The plans for online casino expansion would be limited to a set number of licensees. Restrictions would be imposed on new licensees for their online casino operations. And to top it off in the EC’s eyes, the Greek proposal for online casino expansion would give OPAP, which Greece is trying to maintain management of, special privileges which in turn gives OPAP an advantage over the other online casino operators who would just be entering the Greek market.

In addition to the fact that those plans would step on the toes of EU law, it could potentially put off online casino operators as they would be obtaining a license that would not allow them to compete on an equal plain with OPAP. With the EC watching Greece, we will continue to monitor the situation in Greece to see if they indeed do move forward with their online casino expansion plans or whether they go back to the drawing board.

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