Greece has had a love and hate affair with gambling in the past. The Southern European country has legalised gambling in land-based casinos and gambling halls, and some forms of online gambling are considered legal, too, such as lotteries and online sports betting. Online casino gaming is a touch different, though. It is best to say that online casinos are tolerated but illegal. Where does that leave you as a player based in Greece? Read on the find out more…
Is Online Gambling Legal in Greece?
Online gambling is legal in Greece, but only certain forms of it (some sports betting and lottery games, as mentioned). Officially, OPAP has a monopoly on land-based forms of gambling, and they also have a certain degree of control over what kinds of online casino gambling are tolerated. However, the European Union (EU) abhors monopolies, and thus, OPAPs control over gambling online is set to expire in 2020.
In 2002, the Hellenic Republic banned all forms of online gambling, but they went back on that in 2011, when they opened up the internet betting industry once more. In 2016, a new law was passed by the Greek Government which essentially meant that the country will start regulating the online gambling sector, mainly through the form of licenses issued by an as of yet uncreated Greek gambling commission.
At this moment in time, the service is still not active, but it is likely to go online next year when the OPAPs monopoly comes to an end. After this date, only online casinos which are licensed out of Greece will be permitted to offer gambling games to players in the country. Until this comes to pass, though, it is a free-for-all for all manner of operators.
Greek Online Casinos
Since Greece does not currently dish out any licenses (again, it will soon) to online casinos, any online casino which caters to Greek players – either exclusively or by-the-by – can be considered a Greek online casino.
These online casinos will offer gameplay in Greek, and use the euro as one of its available currencies. There may even be customer support available in Greek, as well as a collection of games which appeal to players in the country. Greeks are immensely proud of the history of their country, and Ancient Greece slots are amongst the most popular on the net. Any casino worth their salt will carry plenty of them.
As of 2019, the state doesn’t punish offshore operators for offering their services to players in Greece, so there are a significant number of top foreign casinos which cater to players in the Southern European country. This will change, but for now, any casino can theoretically be a Greek casino.
Offshore Casino Sites for Greek Players
For the time being, we tend to consider any foreign operator (or Greek one) which offers their services in Greek to be a Greek online casino. What is an offshore casino, then? These are casinos which accept players from the country, although they may not specifically cater to them in terms of their language, favoured currency and banking options or support. These are in, in a sense, every other type of casino out there on the net.
Offshore casinos are tolerated in Greece, although playing at them remains illegal. Greeks are not supposed to sign up at any foreign casino sites, although there is no punishment for doing so. In the past, Greek ISPs (internet service providers) have been instructed to block access to foreign sites, although this practice dwindled a few years ago, and is virtually non-existent today.
Is Anything Likely to Change in the Future?
In a word, yes. Greece has already put forward legislation which will effectively regulate the online casino gaming industry in the country. As mentioned, those laws are set to come into place in 2020 and will see any online casino wishing to offer its services to players there required to claim a Greek gambling license.
After Greece starts to do this, players in the country will likely expect any foreign sites which have not obtained a license to either withdraw their service from Greek players or likely end up blacklisted by internet service providers in the country. Even in 2020, when Greece regulated their online betting industry, there is expected to be no punishment for any player who manages to curb the restrictions, such as by using a VPN (virtual private network).
Top Greek Casino Sites
Greece is open for business in 2019, and not just for Greek casinos, but all manner of online casinos, wherever they are based in the world. That will change soon, but for the time being, a Greek player can opt to play at any online casino they wish. Of course, it is more advantageous to play at those casinos which do offer Greek language gameplay and have other options tailor-made for players from that country.
Some renowned sites open for players from Greece include Paradise Casino, Cleopatra, Casino Heroes, Video Slots Casino, Fruity Casa, Trada Casino, and Slot Planet. Of course, many more can be found right here.