Wednesday July 31,2013 : GREEK GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES ONLINE GAMBLING BLACKLIST
ISPs and financial transactors warned against dealing with around 402 websites
The Greek government sprang a nasty holiday surprise on the market Tuesday, releasing its online gambling blacklist and warning financial institutions and ISPs to block some 402 online gambling websites.
Local players immediately noted the apparently uninformed nature of the long list of websites, with some blogs included.
However the list, which is clearly intended to protect Greek gambling monopoly OPAP, which the government is attempting to privatise, includes most major online gambling operators, such as Bwin.Party, BetVictor, 888, Stan James, Stanleybet, Bwin, 32Red, Unibet, Betvictor, Betsson, Betclic, Interwetten, Pinnaclesports, Sportingbet, Caesarsbingo, Vernons, Genting, BoyleSports, Gala, Offsidebet and 10bet.
The full list is reproduced here: http://www.betblog.gr/articles.aspx?aid=26545
The publication Capital.gr reports that the blacklist first appeared on the Hellenic Gaming Commission website, and that moves are afoot to placate the 24 foreign companies that had previously been awarded licenses by the Greeks .
The newspaper surmised that a hearing to which the gambling companies were invited could result in their being allowed to continue operating despite the new monopolistic arrangements introduced to sweeten the OPAP privatisation deal.
The reaction of these companies has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks that they may embark on legal action if the Greek regulator tampered with their prior licensing.
Interestingly, the blacklist does not appear to cover William Hill, Ladbrokes or Betfair, which exited the Greek market last year after being warned off by the Greeks.
The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) was quick into the fray writing to the Hellenic Gaming Commission to request it stop reviewing the legitimate interim licences held by operators in Greece saying it believes the review has been undertaken purely in preparation of the blacklist.
The RGA believes the blacklist is premature as issues raised by the European Commission on Greek gaming law have yet to be addressed.
Clive Hawkswood, chief executive officer of the RGA said: “There is no justification for the review of interim licences at this stage. All that the Hellenic Gaming Commission will achieve is the closure of legitimate and well regulated gambling companies. In all other jurisdictions that have sought to maintain online gambling monopolies a significant proportion of the population have chosen to bet on more attractive sites based in other jurisdictions. We have no doubt this will happen in Greece too.
It must be obvious that the Greek people, the Greek Government and the Greek licensed industry would all benefit from a competitive and successful domestic market. That is not even a possibility if interim licences are removed and OPAP is gifted an online monopoly.”