RGA criticises ‘illegitimate’ Greek gambling monopoly

RGA criticises ‘illegitimate’ Greek gambling monopoly

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sue Rossiter, director of projects and policy at the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), has branded the Greek gambling monopoly “illegitimate” and called for the introduction of a more open market in the county.

Speaking to TotallyGaming.com, Rossiter said that if the market is not opened up to more operators, consumers in the country will continue to use offshore services in order to access the services they want.

The criticism comes after the Greek Council of State earlier this week ruled that the country’s betting monopoly is legal.

“We are arguing that the whole regime is completely illegitimate,” Rossiter told TotallyGaming.com.

“We firmly believe that the only way to protect consumers and to get the tax revenues needed is to have an open market with a fair rate of taxation.

“Greece is almost at that point but they have just sat on their hands and not opened up the market properly.

“If they don’t open up the market to other operators, what will happen is most Greek consumers will continue to gamble overseas with unlicensed operators.

“Our view is that people should be fully protected by licensed operators.”

Greek authorities did open up the country’s online gaming market in 2012 by allowing 24 operators licensed in the European Union to provide legal sports betting services in the country. 

However, authorities intend to close down these operators in order to create an online sports betting monopoly for Greek gambling firm OPAP, which was last month awarded the country’s sole horserace betting licence by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund.

“If they hand everything over to OPAP, then what we’re going to have is a market that is closed and, as a result, Greek consumers will have to go offshore to get the choice and quality of product that they want,” Rossiter added.

“At the point where we are at now, what we need is the European Commission or the Greek authorities to take a stand and open up the market as the law requires.” 

Rossiter spoke to TotallyGaming.com shortly after she had attended the Greek Gaming Conference 2015 where, despite the national regulator having also attended the event, a representative for the government was not present and discussions over the situation were not able to progress further.

“The regulator said they are waiting for the government to move forward and there was no representative from the government there,” Rossiter said.

“At the moment it is a stalemate, nothing is happening. If people know which way things are going then they can determine what they want to do and what investments they want to make. 

“But, at the moment, everything is just standing still with nothing developing at all.”

 

 

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