It wasn’t that long ago that the iGaming industry faced a massive blow when Greece, in the face of an economic meltdown, decided to shut down their banks. Online casino and betting sites which had registered bank accounts in the country found themselves without any recourse and lost the funds stored in those accounts.
However, the country has been on a path to recovery since then, with a report by the Athenian daily newspaper Kathimerini showing that from 2015 to 2018 Greek gamblers had wagered nearly €8 billion!
Hellenic Gaming Commission Looks Online
Given the penchant for Greek residents to gamble at offshore casino sites, the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) has decided that it is time to keep that revenue inhouse.
The HGC has clearly been following the recent regulatory launches by other territories as they have made sure to cover such items as Safe Gambling practices, €2 stake limitations for Online Slots and maximum jackpot caps of €50,000.
While the intention here is clearly to have a licensed industry that can both generate revenue while protecting the players from developing compulsive gambling problems it has been met with some resistance from the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) who feel it is too restrictive and may encourage the growth of black market casinos.
This is due not only to the limitations in earning potential for operators from such small stakes but when balances against the costs for Greek licensing the margins become even thinner.
A 7-year Greek license will cost an online casino operator in excess of €2 million-plus they are required to pay 35% of gross gaming revenue annually. That is a massive upfront layout with a heavy annual fee which could make it impossible for small to mid-sized casinos to operate profitably in the region.
License Applications Are Now Open
October 2020 saw the HGC officially open applications for parties interested in acquiring an online gaming license for Greece.
At the moment there are only two licenses available to interested operators:
- a license to conduct Online Betting, as per the second subparagraph of article 25 (c) of law 4002/2011 (GG A 180); and
- a license to conduct Other Online Games of Chance as per article 25 (v) of law 4002/2011 (GG A 180).
The application process begins simple enough with an online registration process, however, once that has been completed the same forms with the addition of all necessary legal documentation also need to be submitted in print to the HGC offices in Athens.
There is also a second digital application process which requires key members and participants in the company applying for the licence to apply for HGC approval:
- Suitability License for Shareholders
- Suitability License for persons who perform Key Functions
- Suitability License for Manufacturers
- Suitability License for Technicians
- Recognition of Certification Bodies
If the HGC has any questions or concerns about the above five suitability applications, the operator may be required to submit hard copies of these documents as well.