Gambling related laws in Greece

Gambling related laws in Greece


Greece is considered to be one of the first places as to the inception of casino. The roots of gambling in the country date back to the ancient times when the inhabitants of the Greek polis involved themselves in playing the dice massively. Today, the act of gambling is made legal in nine licensed casinos in the country.

The very first mention of gambling in Greece appeared in the third century BC. The act of betting became the most popular form of gambling as well as the favorite pastime of the Greeks. It was soon followed by the game of dice. The oldest casino in Greece is a casino in Loutraki which was built in the year 1928.

Legal regulations of the land-based casinos

All kinds of land-based casino activities in Greece are regulated by the Greek Gambling Commission. This commission was established by the Ministerial Decree on the 20th of December in the year 2011. The following facts talk about the regulation of the casinos in the country.

  • The first licenses were provided to three casinos, Casino Mont Parnes, Casino Corfu and Rhodes Casino in the year 1994.
  • In the year 2002, the government of Greece passed a controversial law namely, 3037/2002 that prohibited playing electronic games in all the public places.
  • The same law was abolished by the government in the year 2011 and was superseded by other law, 4002/2011.
  • The new law so introduced defined the principles related to responsible gaming and it also introduced the individual player card that is necessary to be able to play all the gambling games in Greece.
  • The legal age of playing casino games in the country was introduced. A Greek must be at least 21 years old to enjoy gambling.

The country today operates nine licensed casinos. All of these casinos have been deployed in the main areas of the country on the islands of Syros, Rhodes and Corfu. These casinos are made open from Monday to Sunday until the morning hours. The popular games entertained by these casinos include blackjack, roulette, poker, baccarat, punto banco, electronic roulette and various casino slot machines. The casinos also organize poker tournaments.

You might also like the article about the Gambling Law in Germany.

The following cities are home to land-based casinos:

  • Athens
  • Corfu
  • Halikidiki
  • Hermoupolis
  • Rhodes
  • Patras
  • Loutraki
  • Thessaloniki
  • Xanthi

Internet casinos and legal regulations

Although the law of Greece doesn’t restrict the gambling operators to apply for the licenses for online casinos, a monopolist in the context is a group named, OPAP which has taken over the entire picture of internet gambling in the country. However, the player can still gamble in various operators from abroad having their websites in English and Greek. The bets in foreign casinos are made available in euros as well as US dollars.

  • The Greek government passed a strict law in 2002 that banned all kinds of electronic games.
  • The said law was mitigated by the Act of 2011, however in reality a monopoly of online gambling services is until 2030 OPAP (Greek Organization of Football Prognostics).
  • In 2013, the European Court of Justice made a ruling that the monopoly granted to the OPAP is nothing but contrary to EU law and claimed that the gambling monopoly is only possible where there are vital social reasons.

The Court later held that OPAP is not restricting these rules in its activity and thus the laws regarding gambling in Greece must be altered so that the monopoly works in tandem with the European Union requirements.

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