Wednesday November 14, 2012 : GREEK GAMING AUTHORITY WARNS OFF UNLICENCED OPERATORS
Hellenic Gaming Commission puts it on the table
Athens-based independent public authority the Hellenic Gaming Commission has introduced itself with an advisory notice saying it has resumed its responsibilities to control the provision of online gaming services in the jurisdiction.
It goes on to inform that licences to offer any online gaming service in Greece are subject to the successful award following a formal tender process, a process that has yet to launch, and confirms a transitional period that allows licence holders in European Union (EU) member states to continue services until formal licences have been awarded if they join a retrospective voluntary taxation scheme.
Twenty-four companies have joined the tax scheme to date and have been given temporary licences, however, the Commission said many more are still offering "non-licenced services online".
The Commission began issuing public warnings from November 5, 2012 requesting providers to block accessibility to the Hellenic Republic by December 6, 2012 or face the guaranteed inclusion of their website on a newly developed blacklist along with a felony charge that carries a minimum ten year jail sentence and/or a fine ranging between Euro 200 000 and Euro 500 000.
Belgium has a similar blacklist system that yesterday saw the co-CEO of bwin.party digital entertainment detained by Belgian authorities following his key note address at an EGBA responsible gambling event in Brussels .
The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has laid a formal complaint with the European Commission on behalf of major operators saying the law is protectionist.
Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the RGA, said: "These measures have clearly been introduced in haste and we cannot believe that they have been approved by the European Commission. They are blatantly protectionist in nature and if EU Internal Market rules mean anything then the European Commission must take prompt action to make Greece reconsider.
"However, for obvious reasons, we are also looking at potential action in the Greek courts. Whether it is raised in Brussels or Athens, nobody could fail to note coincidence that these measures have been rushed through with a ridiculously short deadline at a time when the Greek Government is actively looking to sell its share in OPAP, which currently has a monopoly in exactly the markets where our members would inevitably compete directly with it."