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Can you rehabilitate public finances with Online Gambling?

15 July 2015

The future of Greece as part of the EU is highly uncertain, but the country had thought about rinsing the empty treasury with an online gambling reform to generate money. The Greeks were not the first to come up with such a strategy just like that; they basically followed the examples of Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Italy In Italy, the gross gaming revenue increased from € 748 million in 2014 by 0.4% in the online gambling market. The turnover that was generated with casino games increased by 8% and a 11% growth for betting was generated as well. The marginal growth in the market is on a decline of 20% due to online poker. A liberalization of the Italian online gambling market for new operators and new services such as live betting were responsible for the increase.

Portugal Portugal also has a new online gambling legislation. Licensed operators have to pay taxes in the amount of up to 20% on gross gaming revenue since the end of June. Such extreme increase in taxes can only be considered by the leading operator. However, industry giants like Ladbrokes and William Hill had already decided to leave Portugal before the new legislation came into place. More operators could follow in the coming months.

Greece The Greek citizens voted against the austerity measures that have been proposed by the EU and even if they won, the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had already left his position. Before the referendum Varoufakis had thought about ending the national monopoly of the country and considered the opening of the Greek market to foreign operators. Given the current turbulent situation, it remains to be seen whether this will actually happen.

Spain At the beginning of this year 2015, Spain opened its online marketplaces for the leading companies in the industry such as NetEnt and Bally Interactive. As a result, the Spaniards encountered an increase of 24.5% of revenues in Q1 2015 compared to Q1 2014. Spain’s wise approach was rewarded by this increase in sales and is an example that Portugal can learn from.

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