"It's good for the market that we at last have clear regulations."
12 2021 | SECURITY
Since August, 24 licences for online betting and gambling that were only issued for a limited period are no longer valid. paysafecard Country Consultant John Tsironis has been watching the sometimes-turbulent development in the regulation of this vertical for over 15 years. We asked him for his assessment of the impact on the market.
Since August 2021, the Greek online gambling market has been fully regulated, John. What has been your impression of the developments up to this point in time?
The Greek government had previously no clear position on online gambling. At first it was entirely banned, then from 2011 it was regulated by Act 4022/2011 through so-called "interim licences" which only had temporary validity. This was followed by the capital market controls in 2015, as a result payments with cards and wallets increased tremendously. Then in 2017, all anonymous payment methods were banned, and we therefore introduced the paysafecard account, which has in the meantime proved very successful. But we and the whole sector have got through it very well and have grown further. This shows that the vertical gambling market in Greece continues to promise interesting growth rates. Sporting bets are especially popular.
What has specifically changed as a result of the new Act?
Act 4635/2019 places the gambling market on a solid long-term basis for the first time. Since its entry into force, the interim licences have expired and the merchants were able to apply for licences which are now valid for a fixed period of seven years. There are two different types of licence. The sports betting licence costs three million euros, the casino licence is two million euros and 35% tax on players' winnings comes on top. (Gross Gambling Revenue)
That is a lot of money.
That's right. The Greek online gambling licences are among the most expensive in Europe. But it's good that the market is now fully regulated. This at last creates clear guidelines for the operation of online gambling platforms, for communication and marketing actions and for the security of the players. One could say that there is now a fair framework for players, providers and the state. Consequently 15 merchants have already decided to invest and acquire licences. I think, though, that a much more important reason is that sports bets in particular remain very popular. Anyone can see that if they go into a café or bar in Greece during a big football match. I also hear there how often paysafecard is mentioned.
Is paysafecard really that important for the online gambling vertical in Greece?
I would even say that every operator wanting to become active in Greece with a new licence needs to offer paysafecard in its payment panel. If they fail to do so, they will lose customers to other providers. This is because paysafecard has a loyal community of fans in Greece. It even goes so far that our customers use paysafecard not only as a digital payment option but also as a kind of fiat currency. paysafecard is partly used like cash in this country in the games, gambling and entertainment sectors.
"paysafecard is partly used like cash in this country in the games, gambling and entertainment sectors."
Country Consultant John Tsironis, paysafecard
After all, Greece was one of the first countries to introduce the paysafecard account...
It was only a little unfamiliar to our customers at the start – also because it meant that they could no longer pay entirely anonymously. However, nearly all of them accepted the offer quickly and it now goes without question. This also shows how well and quickly our product has developed further against the background of new laws and regulations. There are now many new features in the paysafecard account, such as PayOut, and we cooperate with Google, Sony and Amazon. People love that and we will undoubtedly increase our presence in Greece even further.
John, many thanks for the discussion!