Greeks Pass Controversial Gambling Law

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A Greek omnibus measure was passed on Thursday that will see considerable changes made to Greece's gambling laws, and potentially generate legal issues with the European Commission.

The provisions were part of a reform bill that covered a broad base of business in Greece, from changes in tourism to online gambling. The law which was guided by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will potentially put Greece in front of the European Commission. The executive body of the European Union objects to Greece's protectionist stances on online gambling. The result of an investigation could see Greece in front of the European Court of Justice, with heavy fines being part of a judgement against the cash strapped country.

The European Commission believes that some of the new regulations in Greece's online gambling law are not compatible with European Union law. The commission's chief concerns are with Greece pushing limits on licensees from other countries, in addition to giving privileges to Greece's state gambling monopoly.

Greece's new law will see the legalization of online gambling as well as the legalization of slot machines. It has been reported that Greece may be able to generate €700 million in taxes and licensing fees. The state owned gambling monopoly OPAP will earn an exclusive license to operate 35,000 video lottery machines.