Playing casino games and sports betting online has not been the easiest thing to do in Greece over the last 20 years. In 2002, Greek authorities banned all forms of online gambling. If you tried to access a gambling venue online, players in Greece are invariably redirected to a page that announces the following:
You have attempted to access a site that provides unlicensed gambling services.
According to the law, internet service providers are obliged not to allow access to the websites of unlicensed gambling providers. It is pointed out that participation in gambling, which is organized without permission by the Hellenic Republic, entails severe administrative and criminal sanctions. More information about the black list can be seen here.
Fortunately, The online gambling landscape in Greece is changing. After ten years of gambling restricted to state monopolies, the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) is finally ready to open up the industry issue online gambling licenses. Read on for further information, and a list of the best HGC regulated online casinos available in Greece.
Modern History of Online Gambling in Greece
In 2002, the Greece government banned all forms of gambling in Greece in an attempt to curtail organized crime and protect its citizens. It was decided it would be easier to ban the activity comprehensively rather than attempting to regulate and enforce it. This remained the case until 2011, when the attitudes changed after the country’s economic collapse a few years earlier. New gambling laws were passed repealing the original 2002 act in a move to tap into the vast revenues generated by the industry. The new regulations allowed the temporary issue of licenses for online gambling and sports betting operators.
It soon became apparent, however, that the new laws were in favour of a state-run monopoly. Casino gambling was restricted to nine land-based venues, while lottery, sports betting and were available only through the Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics (OPAP). Ultimately, many of the operators who attempted to make inroads into the Greek market left when it became clear that operating in Greece under the current climate would be unprofitable.
Greek Online Gambling laws in 2021
After ten years of overseeing what is equivalent to a state-run monopoly, the HGC is once again inviting online operators to apply for a new license. This is in line with the new regulations similar to those of the UK established in September 2020 to reinvigorate the country’s online betting, igaming and sports betting industry.
Online Casino Gambling in Greece
This is excellent news for online casino fans residing in Greece. The latest laws indicate a progressive and positive approach for international businesses operating the sector and local players/gamblers. Residents can now enjoy access to the hundreds of off-shore online casinos available and place bets in Euros and US dollars.
Here is our list of the best online casinos available to players in Greece regulated by the HGC.
What is the HGC?
Almost all countries in the world have a gaming commission or authority responsible for overseeing gambling activities in the host country. In Greece, this authority is called the HGC. The HGC is an abbreviation for the Hellenic Gaming Commission. It is an independent authority responsible for regulating, supervising and auditing games of chance within the Greek territory.
The HGC was established in 2004, comprising of nine full-time members appointed by the ministry of finance. The authority aims to audit gaming to ensure it remains legal and fair to the interests of players in Greece. As far as online casino gambling is concerned, like all gaming authorities, the HGC’s licensing policies ensure games remain legal and safe. Its overriding mission is to minimize the negative impacts of gambling on the public.
Typically, the HGC will regulate games of chance at the online casino. This includes lotteries, number games, betting, casino games, like roulette, poker, blackjack and slots, etc. The authority seeks to ensure that ‘Games of Chance’ are governed by the probability law, where luck plays a decisive role in the outcome. In relation to online casino games, the HGC ensures that randomness is enforced either by using a Random Number Generator (RNG) or by lottery carried out physically.