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European Commission refuses to fast track Greece's gambling draft
Written On 4/19/11 By Recentpoker.com staff writer Jennifer Jearu :
European Commission refuses to fast track Greece's second regulatory draft
The publication Capital.gr reports that the European Commission has rejected for a second time Greece’s request for the consideration of its online gambling regulations as a matter of urgency.
The Greek government's proposals have been set down for consultation and review on June 6, 2011, a standard three-month procedure.
The draft law submitted by the Greek Finance Ministry to regulate the internet gambling market is expected to raise in the region of Euro 700 million annually, but it has been bedevilled by delays, industry objections regarding taxation and disagreements on policy.
Earlier this month Reuters reported that the government had agreed to yet another revision of the draft following complaints by ruling party politicians that the proposals could turn the cash-strapped country into 'a giant casino'.
Socialist party MPs said the law might lead to gaming excesses.
"We should not go towards full deregulation of gaming and gambling," PASOK MP Dimitris Papoutsis told Reuters after Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou presented the draft legislation to members of his party.
Papaconstantinou told lawmakers he would retract the law for further consultation.
The refusal of the EC to push the draft faster exacerbates an already delicate political and economic situation, with some reports suggesting that the government's ambition to have the reforms implemented this year in order to start producing tax revenues may not be realised.
The delays also cloud the future of the Greek gambling monopoly OPAP, with politicians presenting alternatives that include both retaining the state's almost 35 percent interest and in selling the lucrative operations off in a privatisation initiative.
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