Greece Erases Restrictive Cap Limiting Online Wagers

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Greece Erases Restrictive Cap Limiting Online Wagers

As many countries are contemplating more restrictive controls on gambling activity, Greece is going the other way. Certain online gaming activity no longer has to adhere to the €2 (US$2.15) cap that limited the market for years.

Acropolis in Greece
Acropolis in Greece
The Acropolis in Greece. Measures are underway to boost the economy, including the relaxing of gambling caps and limits. (Image: Pinterest)

By decision of the Greek Minister of Finance, Christos Staikouras, published last Friday in the Government Gazette, the new cap will be €20 (US$21.47). This maximum applies to most online casino games that use a random number generator (RNG), such as slot machines. It is also applicable to operators with Type 2 gaming licenses.

Heading in the Right Direction

The previous cap was a constant point of friction between the Gaming Supervision and Control Commission (EEOC, for its Greek acronym) and the legally licensed online betting companies. Many of the operators complained that this limit places a de facto restriction on their profit margins since the rights to use game titles of the RNG methodology consistently present inflexible costs.

In addition to the cap increase, the start of each new game cycle is no longer limited to three seconds. Now, gamblers only have to wait two seconds since the end of the previous cycle (or spin) to begin a new one.

Moreover, the maximum amount of profit in other online games is now €140,000 (US$150,234) per game cycle, i.e., per spin of the RNG game. Previously, the amount was half that.

The maximum amount includes the monetary value of all additional rewards to which the game or its specific cycle (or spin) may be subject. There’s an exception for any jackpot award that the game itself may provide

The Hellenic Association of Internet Gaming Companies (EEEDP, for its Greek acronym) won a small battle, as well. It requested a time extension for the installation and operation of the Intermediate Control System for licensees.

In addition, it wanted more time for the completion of the storage of data models in the security systems of the licensees. Both requests were granted.

Reinvigorating the Economy

Greece isn’t the first country to relax its gambling controls – Sweden and a few others have done the same thing. However, the change in Greece is just a small part of a larger plan to give the economy a major boost and attract more attention.

The Ministry of Finance has introduced a bill that would provide incentives for business development through partnerships and corporate transformations. It hopes to push businesses to form partnerships and make other forms of transformation to increase their size, achieve economies of scale and become more competitive. The bill will appear before Parliament next week for a vote.

Among other things, the bill provides for an exemption for up to nine tax years of 30% from the payment of income tax on profits for certain individuals who form cooperatives. A similar arrangement exists for the conversion or combination of individual enterprises.

Furthermore, in the case of a business transformation or conversion or combination of sole proprietorships, the tax benefit from the exemption may amount to €500,000 (US$536,500). In the case of individuals who form a cooperative, the tax benefit from the exemption can be up to €125,000 (US$134,112) for each individual.

With these regulations, the Ministry of Finance aims to strengthen small and micro enterprises, which are the main backbone of business activity in Greece. This targeting is important because it takes into account the prevailing conditions in the more populated areas of the country. At the same time, it also considers the remote mountainous areas, which are characterized by the presence of small enterprises.

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