After the new changes made, Greek draft proposal for online gambling has passed.
The Greece government was struggling to make some beneficial financial changes, including online gambling, before the next round of audit in August. The omnibus bill was passed by a single voice vote, after a 3 days debate period.
The Greek parliament has amended some key point provisions of the draft proposal, which initially lead to the project’s rejection. One of them is the exclusion of the 6 months blackout period meant to protect the state owned OPAP and also is the clause limiting the number of licenses. These latest and positive changes have been appreciated but yet, there are some uncertain areas of concern in insuring an equitable market place, according to Clive Hawkswood, the RGS chief executive.
With the new provisions, EU licensees will be allowed to operate freely in Greece and advertise across all online and offline media. Also Greek customers will be targeted from off-shore servers during the 6 month transitional period.
Once the licensees got their licenses, they will still have to locate their servers in Greece. There is a tax of 30% GPT to be paid by operators and 10% tax on winnings by the players, during the transitional period, which will begin after the Control Committee has been established. There is not a date set for this establishment.
It is expected for an advertising war to begin, once the licensees fight for their share in the Greek online market. One of the operators who most appreciated the new draft proposal is Betfair, which previously filed a complaint with the EC.
The Greek government’s stake in OPAP is 34% and the finance minister hasn’t made clear about selling off this stake to private operators. In the new draft law, there are moves that facilitate the enhancement of OPAP’s value. A new license will be issued for OPAP, granting to operate all 35,000 video lotto machines. OPAP will also directly operate 16,500 machines and will sub-contract the rest of operators.
These changes are expected to raise OPAP’s value.