OPAP’s Monopoly Brings Together RGA and EGBA in Complaint to European Commission

A joint complaint was filed by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) to the European Commission in which the organization condemn the non-notification of regulations that will extend OPAP’s monopoly on online gambling and impose harsh enforcement measures, at the same time keeping the compliance of the new law with European Union law in question.

In their complaint, the EGBA and the RGA expressed concern that the Greek Government has failed to begin licensing online gambling operators, which was a central measure of the new gambling law passed in August 2011.

And in the meantime, the Greek Government has done even more in favor of OPAP – it has granted the Greek monopoly an extension of its license for another 10 years, from 2020 to 2030, along with a provision to extend the monopoly to include online gambling.

It has also been noted that "this process has shown a disdain for EU law and has been wholly non-transparent," and flies in the face of directive 98/34/EC that requires it to notify the Commission.

The regulations in question include enforcement measures such as ISP and payment blocking, fines on banks and internet providers who facilitate gambling and fines on unlicensed operators.

According to Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of EGBA, “Commissioner Barnier recently confirmed that the he would take his responsibilities seriously in ensuring the compliance of Member States’ gambling legislation with EU law. We trust the Commissioner will urgently investigate our complaint and take action accordingly against Greece as well as on several other pending complaints.”

It was added by Clive Hawkswood, chief executive officer of the RGA: “When the Greek Government said it was going to license and regulate the domestic online gambling market we welcomed this as a positive step. However, instead of encouraging the development of a competitive and well-regulated market, the Greek Government and Gaming Commission are blocking major European private operators from it.

"We therefore look to the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, to ensure that Greece follows the correct procedures and that the laws that it is seeking to introduce are fully compliant with EU law.”

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