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Greek Budget Boosted by Legalization of Gambling
- May 22, 2018 By Riley Wilson -
In order to generate more money for the state coffers, the Greek government decided to legalize land-based gambling operations. Even though the legalization process was a bit slow, the results show the legalization did help to earn the much needed cash, especially through video lottery terminals.
According to media reports, one of the biggest names in Greek gambling, OPAP managed to generate around €1 billion in revenue. The interesting fact is the amount was almost exclusively generated by the existing customers.
Reaping the Benefits
Before the regulation of the market, illegal gambling was widespread in the country, and the government’s decision to do so has proven to be worthwhile, with bigger revenues for the national treasury.
A tax of almost 30% on the gaming revenue was introduced, which is significantly more than in other industries. The process may have been a slow one, but today all operators pay their taxes and the state benefits from it. The country’s iGaming industry is also on the rise, although it doesn’t generate as much money as land-based gambling.
The legalization process has also helped in creating a highly safe environment for the players, preventing and fighting against online fraud, money laundering, and other criminal activities.
OPAP Rules the Market
OPAP is the Greek largest operator, owning around 10,000 video lottery terminals, while this number is expected to reach 25,000 in the coming period. However, more than 100,000 illegal VLT machines are still being used across the country, and the fact there are so many of them is making the confiscation of the machines more difficult and slow.
OPAP has initially received an approval from the Ministry of Finance to expand the number of VLT machines to 3,000, but after some time, the government had a change of heart and licensed only 15,000 machines.
For a few years now the company has been focused on starting the VLT expansion, and the number of machines should reach 25,000 by August. This move should further strengthen the position of OPAP as the leader of the Greek gambling market.
OPAP provides the players with everything from sports to lottery games, number games, horse races, scratch and draw lotteries, and has bookmaker outlets in both Greece and Cyprus. VLTs are the crucial part of their business since the machines generate the majority of the total revenue.