Most Popular Bookies in Greece

Sports betting has been part of the Greek culture for decades. The love of sports inspires the popularity of sports betting among the Greeks. The sports culture dates back to the 8th century when the state introduced the Olympic Games and registered the first-ever Olympic win. At the time, gambling was not widespread and regulated. However, sports betting became prevalent over time, hitting its peak over the last two decades.

The introduction of online sports betting contributed quite a lot to the popularity of sports gambling. Ideally, online casinos made gambling services available to most people, unlike when they were confined to brick-and-mortar establishments. Numerous sports betting sites allow Greek players to bet on sports matches and events. New players may find choosing the right betting site overwhelming, with both locally-based and offshore casinos targeting Greek punters.

Most Popular Bookies in Greece
History of betting in GreeceBetting nowadays in GreeceBetting legislation in GreeceGreek players' favorite gamesPayment methods in GreeceFAQs
History of betting in Greece

History of betting in Greece

Gambling has always been a part of the Greek culture for as long as the history books go. In ancient times, betting was mainly on coin-tossing and dice games. Old statues and paintings indicate the first forms of sports betting, which were bets on racing competitions and fighting games. The betting process was rather rudimentary, with most wagers being exchange bets. Mythological stories indicate that even the Greek gods used to gamble. For example, Pan and Hermes are believed to have placed wagers as Hades, Zeus, and Poseidon decided to draw straws to determine how to split the world.

The advent of new games and laws

As gambling advanced in Greece, newer games were introduced, becoming popular. A good example is Par Impar Ludere. This game involved a person holding small sheep bones and the opponent guessing whether the number of bones was even or odd. As money became the main exchange currency, the bones were replaced with coins, and the winning person would keep all the coins.

Eventually, gambling laws were introduced to control the industry as many people became victims of gambling addiction. At some point, laws were introduced to prohibit all forms of gambling. In 1958, new laws were formed. The laws permitted gambling but only under strict state control. The Greek Organization of Football Prognostics, owned by the state, had a monopoly on the betting industry until the 2000s. In 2008, the organization experienced a financial crisis and sold part of the company shares to private citizens. Around that time, online sports betting also came about in Greece, which became popular quite fast.

Key historical changes

The main change in the Greece gambling industry occurred during the early 2000s. That was when online gambling was introduced and became popular quite fast. The online sports betting platforms gave more punters opportunities to wager on their favorite sport, including leagues played on different continents. It also made the betting process easier and more credible, provided punters choose the right betting sites.

History of betting in Greece
Betting nowadays in Greece

Betting nowadays in Greece

A few considerations can help Greek punters choose the right betting site. These include licensing, available payment options, quality of customer support, variety of the games offered, types of bets offered, availability and terms of bonuses, and the betting site's reputation. Reputable casino ranking sites can also help make the right decision by providing in-depth information about available options and giving quality suggestions.

Online sports betting has been legal in Greece since 2011 following the government's amendment to the Gambling Act. The main reason for legalizing gambling was to raise money through taxation and licensing. The regulations resulted in an increased number of punters, with sports betting being the most popular form of gambling.

The gambling providers have also been improving their products and services, attracting more punters. For example, most betting sites are now mobile-friendly, making them easily accessible by the over 70% of the adult population that own smartphones.

Future of sports betting in Greece

The Greek government earns significant revenue from the gambling industry, which it would likely not be willing to lose. That indicates sports betting will likely continue to be legal for a long time. However, there are chances that regulations may change slightly to help protect punters better from gambling harm. Such may include stricter licensing requirements and improved oversight.
Recently, there have been numerous complaints by gambling operators and punters alike regarding how high the tax rates are.

Exorbitant taxes make betting less attractive and may result in the government earning less revenue from the industry as most punters will not bet. As such, punters may also opt for offshore betting sites with friendlier tax rates. Most experts predict the Greek government will review the tax rates and other fees soon, but nothing has been formalized yet.

Expectations

Most experts predict that gambling will remain legal in Greece for a long time, with popularity increasing as technology advances to allow more people to punt on sports. However, the regulations will more than likely become stricter. That might lead to more punters opting to use international betting sites over the local ones.

Betting nowadays in Greece
Betting legislation in Greece

Betting legislation in Greece

It is acceptable to bet on sports in Greece. However, only one betting company, the Greek Organization of Football Prognosis (OPAP), is granted the right to offer sports betting services. However, Greek punters have the option of betting via offshore betting sites. The Greek government provides a few provisional licenses to qualified offshore operators to provide their services legally in the country.

Many offshore betting sites allow Greek punters to bet despite the many restrictions. Most punters prefer such as it enables them to evade the high tax rates charged on winnings in licensed betting casinos. The government has also been very reluctant regarding the persecution of bettors who break the law. Persecuting offshore betting operators has also proven to be challenging.

Taxation

All punters should pay taxes on all winnings resulting from sports wagers. Before 2013, the punters were required to pay 10% of their winnings as tax. However, the 2013 amendments revised the tax rates to make it a tier system. For all profits ranging from €100 to €500, punters must pay 15% tax, and winnings above €500 are charged 20% tax. Profits under €100 are considered for casual punters, and they go untaxed.

Punters who wager at offshore betting sites can evade taxes because there is no regulation to govern winnings from such sites. However, punters have personal responsibilities to pay taxes on their winnings irrespective of which sports betting sites they use.

Main sports betting laws

A year that marked a turning point in the Greek gambling industry was 1996. That was when the government gave the state-owned OPAP all the exclusive rights to offer gambling services, resulting in the monopolization of the industry. The rights were supposed to expire in 2020, but the government extended the duration to 2030.

The effects of the increased popularity of online sports betting resulted in the enforcement of Law 3037/2002. That was one of the most debated pieces of gambling legislation in Greece, which aimed to make all forms of interactive gambling in Greece illegal. The legislation was vague, but it effectively prohibited gambling, including online sports betting. That applied to foreigners as well as they were forbidden from entering the country with video games. Internet cafes were also not allowed to permit punters to access gambling sites. Offenders of this law faced up to €75000 in fines, up to 12 months of jail time, and business closure.

Amendments

Law 3037/2002 resulted in the underground gambling industry thriving in the country. Most punters also responded to foreign-licensed betting sites using VPNs and other internet protective software. It also caused concerns among the European Union countries. As a result, Law 3037/2002 was overthrown in 2011 when the Greece Gambling Act, also called Law 4002/2011, was enforced. The new law resulted in the government issuing temporary operating licenses for 24 offshore online betting operators.

The law set the ground for the development of a regulatory framework, which was achieved within a year. However, Greek legislators had a change of mind and pushed for the OPAP monopoly. Operators with temporary licenses were required to start withdraw their services. That led to a court case heard by the highest court in Europe, in which foreign operators argued against the monopolization of OPAP. The court ruled in favor of the foreign operators, stating that the monopolization violated the EU laws.

Greek legislators withdrew their stand under pressure from the EU and the economic crisis of the time. They had to revise the new laws which saw OPAP sell a majority of its shares to private operators. That allows punters to receive betting services from different operators but under the same license.

Betting legislation in Greece
Greek players' favorite games

Greek players' favorite games

Association football

Association football is Greece's national sport and the most popular sport. There are hundreds of football teams, ranging from amateur teams to those playing at the highest levels of professional football. The game's popularity attracts numerous punters because it is the sport they understand the most. Multiple football matches also occur every day globally, meaning that punters never need to worry about the availability of betting markets.

Basketball

Basketball is a hit in Greece, thanks to the long history and tradition of success the country has had in the sport. Greece was among the founding members of FIBA, which has promoted basketball in the country for several decades now. Punters also prefer betting on basketball because of their in-depth knowledge of the game and the variety of betting markets. Most punters also consider basketball easier to predict than other sports, especially when a top-performing team plays.

Athletics

Track and field sports are also popular among Greek punters. Athletic events usually have a variety of activities, giving punters numerous betting markets. Betting decisions are also easier as top athletes usually perform as expected more often than not. The only challenging bit is that athletics events typically don't occur often.

Greek players' favorite games
Payment methods in Greece

Payment methods in Greece

Credit and Debit Cards

The most popular payment method among Greek punters is banking cards. MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted banking cards there. Punters prefer using banking cards because most of them are already accustomed to using them regularly outside the gambling world. It is also arguably one of the easiest payment methods as it does not involve the transfer of funds to an intermediary payment channel.

E-Wallets

E-wallets are the second-most popular payment alternatives among punters in Greece. The main reason e-wallets are so popular is because punters can use them for both deposits and withdrawals, unlike other options that allow only deposits. E-wallet payments are also usually processed instantly. Withdrawals might take longer because of the approval process of the betting site.

Bank Transfer

Bank transfers are nowadays becoming a common option among Greek bettors. That is primarily because of how easily banks have made the process nowadays. Punters only need to visit their online bank accounts to authorize the payments. Bank transfers are also very safe and secure, and they allow punters to manage all their funds from one account.

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are very popular among punters who prefer betting on sports anonymously. That is because it eliminates the need to provide banking or personal information when making transactions. Cryptocurrencies also do not have limits regarding transferable amounts.

Payment methods in Greece
FAQs

FAQs

Is betting on sports online legal in Greece?

Online sports betting is legal for all persons 18 years or older. However, that is on the condition that punters use a betting site that belongs to OPAP. Punters can also use offshore sports betting sites, though no regulatory body is set to protect them from exploitation in offshore gambling sites.

Are there limitations to the sports on which punters can bet?

Punters can bet on virtually any sport, but only if the sport is considered legal. The gambling industry is monopolized, and the licensed operator is well regulated to ensure no illegal sport makes it to their betting markets. Punters do not need to worry about legality for all the sports offered by OPAP.

Can Greek punters bet on virtual sports?

Virtual sports betting is legal, offered by nearly all the OPAP sports betting casino sites. That is particularly popular for non-mainstream sports with limited betting markets as the sports events do not occur regularly.

Do punters in Greece pay taxes on their winnings?

Yes. All Greek punters must pay taxes on all winnings if the winnings total more than €100. The tax is paid as a percentage of the won amount, 15% for winnings up to €500 and 20% for higher amounts. Taxes are deducted automatically from the won amount and submitted by the betting operator.

FAQs