Could it be that the Greek government's policy of restricting access to its gambling market is about to undergo a change? That was the question on Internet gambling observer's lips this week as Greek media reports from reputable publications like the Greek Herald and Reporter Net carried a brief story on a meeting scheduled for next week between European Commission enforcement chief Charlie McCreevy and Greek economic minister George Alogoskoufis.
The reports speculated that the get together is taking place in an attempt to prevent European Court of Justice charges against the Greeks concerning state gambling monopoly OPAP's status.
Recently, OPAP President Chatziemmanouil has been quoted as saying that he has not ruled out the possibility that changes in OPAP’s monopoly status could take place in the future. His comment has been echoed by government sources, who have hinted at the possibility of changes to Greek gaming legalization aimed at bringing it closer to the European model, but warned that it would not open an "unregulated market".
The EC has no problem with regulation per se, as long as it is not discriminatory against companies in other EU nations and does not hinder the free passage of trade and services.
If there is no change in present policies the Greek government, in company with 9 other EU member states could face legal action in the European Court of Justice following repeated warnings by the Commission on monopolistic and protectionist conduct. France has already signalled a positive change after discussions in Brussels and Paris, and other nations are known to be reconsidering their positions.
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