Greek parliament passes gambling reforms

28 October 2019

Greece’s parliament has passed a package of legislation designed to boost economic development in the country, which includes a bill reforming the country’s gambling laws.

The gaming bill included in the Invest in Greece package will see operators permitted to continue offering Random Number Generator games, such as slots, something omitted from an earlier draft. 

This proposed prohibition of RNG games had proved particularly controversial, prompting operators to threaten a legal challenge against the ban.

The final bill also lowers the licence fee to €3m, down from the original €5m, and sets a 35% gross revenue tax for licensees. A 20% corporation tax will also be applied before the 35% revenue tax is subtracted, in a move that strategic consultancy Regulus Partners said would effectively make legal avoidance of tax “impossible.”

In addition, the 24 online operators who were issued temporary Greek licenses in 2011 will be allowed to continue operating under these licences until March 31, 2020, having to reapply when this certification expires.

The bill also blocks operators that were placed on the Hellenic Gaming Commission's blacklist of operators in the past 12 months from applying for a licence.

Aside from reforms to gambling legislation, the Invest in Greece package contains bills looking to streamline environmental and planning regulations. It also includes labour reforms such as allow companies to opt out of certain collective wage agreements with workers and allowing local government authorities to outsource labour to private companies.

The labour reforms set out in the legislation have been a source of controversy in Greece, prompting strikes in the country which halted ferry and railway services earlier this month.

Invest in Greece was passed with 165 votes in favour and 122 votes against. It will now be presented to the country's president, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, to be signed into law.