Saturday March 7,2015 : NEW GREEK GOVERNMENT MULLS ONLINE GAMBLING LICENSING.
Pre-meeting letter to Eurogroup gives hints on Syriza coalition's intentions.
The new Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has outlined key reform proposals – including an intention to licence online gambling – ahead of a crucial Eurogroup meeting scheduled for Monday to decide whether the country is meeting the conditions for its next bailout instalment.
In the 11-page letter to Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup, Varoufakis reveals plans for the Greek government to hire mystery-shoppers "'wired' for sound and video" to help collect evidence against tax evaders and raises the possibility of selling licenses to online gambling companies to operate in the country.
The government plans to raise additional revenues through selling online gambling operator licenses to online gaming providers, and envisages that each 5-year contract would cost around Euro 3 million, with the value of tax revenues from online gambling estimated to be worth around Euro 500 million a year to the state.
The initiative reportedly includes putting an end to the temporary licence regime for online gambling by implementing legalization dating back to 2011, and envisages the application of international tendering procedures for the awarding of the 5-year licenses.
Online operators in the Greek market currently offer their products through transitional licenses awarded in 2012 to operators who had agreed to pay retroactive tax on revenues earned from Greece-based customers.
The Greek governing socialist coalition also plans a food allowance of Euro 100 a month per family, reconnecting electricity supplies to up to 150,000 households that had been cut off for non-payment of bills and giving rent assistance to a further 30,000 families, along with the creation of a watchdog body to monitor and control Greek government spending.
Tax offenders are to be given an opportunity to legalise their tax affairs in exchange for part payment of outstanding sums owed.