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Online gaming market reforms

Draft technical regulations on “Online gaming market reforms - Amendment of Law 4002/2011”

These draft technical regulations relate to “Online gaming market reforms - Amendment of Law 4002/2011” and more specifically:

Re Article 1

The necessary replacements and additions to key terms and technical definitions contained in the original law from 2011 are made by amending Article 25 of Law 4002/2011 (Government Gazette 180/A), in order to update them to adapt them to the Greek online gaming market, as regulated by the current legislative initiative. By way of example, the key concept of “online game of chance permit holder” is introduced in the context of the new regulatory framework on permitting and operation of the said market. The concept of “other online games” is introduced, as a special category of games for which permits can be obtained under the new procedure set out herein, and the term “associates” is added, which is a separate category of persons assisting game of chance permit holders.

Re Article 2

Given that up to now there has been no provision distinguishing different types of permits, this article separates online game of chance permits into two categories which correspond to two types of permits: a) a permit for betting games, namely sporting and non-sporting bets and b) a permit for other online games.

Re Article 3

Paragraph 1 of this article now states that the Gaming Regulations are to be adopted by decision of the Minister for Finance following a recommendation to that effect by the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC), and not by issuing Presidential Decrees, as had been the case until now. The proposed amendment is considered necessary given the speed of technological developments in the specific sector.

Article 3(2) to (8) make the necessary legislative drafting changes and additions on specific matters set out in the Gaming Regulations to bring these provisions into line with the new permitting model (an open permitting system).

Re Article 4

The provisions of Article 4 update the technical requirements of the Supervision and Control IT System (SCITS), which will be laid down in the Gaming Regulations and expressly state that online games of chance can only be played via systems and modules connected to the SCITS to which the HGC has access.

Re Article 5

The proposed amendment to paragraph 1 includes electronic money institutions under Law 4021/2011 (Government Gazette 218/A) among the institutions where the player may have an account into which the winnings from online games of chance can be deposited.

Paragraph 2 states that the Gaming Regulations shall lay down the amount which online game of chance permit holders must have at a credit institution or payment institution or electronic money institution depending on the type of permit.

Re Article 6

This article replaces Article 34 of Law 4002/2011 concerning the protection of personal data held by the HGC and online game of chance permit holders, to bring it into line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), in light of the new permitting procedure for online games of chance.

Re Article 7

This Article enacts a new permitting procedure for which the Greek State has exclusive competence. Under paragraph 2, two types of permits can be issued under this new open permitting system (without any competitive tendering process): a) a permit for betting games, namely sporting and non-sporting bets and b) a permit for other online games, and the key characteristics of the permits are laid down. It is expressly stated that, under the specific conditions set out in Article 46 of Law 4002/2011, as amended by Article 9 hereof, each prospective permit holder can be granted both types of permit without any limit on the final number of permits being set.

Paragraph 3 of the proposed Article expressly states that the online games of chance permit is to be granted by decision of the HGC.

Paragraphs 4 to 7 set the fees payable for participation in the permitting procedures, and set the cost of each type of permit, the duration of permits as well as the renewal conditions.

Re Article 8

Article 45A is inserted into Law 4002/2011 relating to an Associates Register to be set up and maintained by the HGC, and the procedure and conditions for registration and removal of associates from it are laid down so as to ensure the transparency and reliability of online games of chance.

Re Article 9

This article once again amends the conditions for participating in the permitting procedure.

It continues to be the case that only companies with a paid-up share capital of at least EUR 200 000 (paragraph 1) can participate in the procedure, and the specific barriers to participation by legal persons applying for permits -and all persons participating in the those legal entities- are laid down (paragraphs 2 and 3).

It is expressly stated that prospective permit holders are obliged to run games of chance via websites whose domain name ends in .gr. It should be clarified that each prospective permit holder can have up to 2 permits of different types (a betting game permit and a permit for other online games) per website. Where the prospective permit holder wishes to apply for more permits of the same type, it is obliged to pay the corresponding fee. Finally, under no circumstances is a permit allowed to refer to more than one website (paragraph 4).

Where prospective permit holders have their registered offices outside of Greece, they must install a safe server within Greece which is interconnected to the HGC to safeguard the control mechanism (paragraph 5).

The body competent for granting online games of chance permits is the HGC and the time at which the price is payable is specified (paragraph 6).

A guarantee letter must be submitted and the supporting documents accompanying the application as a condition for granting the permit are specified (paragraphs 7-8).

Re Article 10

These provisions relate to general obligations imposed on all persons who acquire an online game of chance permit under the new procedure (paragraphs 1, 2 and 5). There is a specific obligation for holders of permits for other online games to notify the HGC if they intend to play a new type of “other online game” in addition to those included in the original application for that sort of permit (paragraph 3).

Finally, specific issues (revocation of permits, the procedure for imposing sanctions, server operating conditions, etc.) are to be regulated by decision of the HGC or in the Gaming Regulations (paragraphs 4, 6 and 7).

Re Article 11

Paragraph 7 updates the procedure for drafting and revising the black list of unauthorised gambling providers so that it is in line with the new system for permitting, organising and running online games of chance.

Re Article 12

Article 49 of Law 4002/2001 is amended by inserting electronic money institutions authorised under Law 4021/2011 among providers of payment services for payments from participation in games of chance. Moreover, the new paragraph 6 specifies that those providers are obliged to send data about the transactions of game of chance permit holders and holders of individual player cards and online player accounts via the Bank Account and Payment Account Registers System (BAPARS) held by the General Secretariat for Information Systems under Law 4170/2013 (Government Gazette 163/A).

Re Article 13

The new paragraph 2 in Article 50 of Law 4002/2011 states (a) that in order to obtain and renew a game of chance permit for gaming machines and to operate such gaming machines, the price for games of chance played using gaming machines must be paid in accordance with Article 39 of that Law and (b) that to participate in the procedure for obtaining online game of chance permits, the fee specified in Article 45(4) must be paid. Moreover, the first indent of paragraph 7 is replaced, paragraph 10 is repealed and Article 50(11) is also replaced.

Re Article 14

This article modernises how online players are taxed. It sets a flat rate of tax at 10 % and abandons the use of columns and player sessions.

Re Article 15

This article includes transitional provisions relating to (a) companies providing betting and online gambling services which are lawfully established in Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area and hold a lawful operating permit and permit for such services and which by 31 December 2011 had submitted a voluntary application to join the Law 4002/2011 tax regime, and (b) gambling permit holders, to ensure that the HGC is able to access their systems and modules until the SCITS is installed and operational.

Re Article 16

This relates to the entry into effect of the law.