BUSINESS

Watchdog: ‘Illegal betting bigger than legal market’

By Vangelis Mandravelis

Illegal gambling activities in Greece probably make more money than the country’s legal market, the president of the sector’s watchdog, Evgenios Giannakopoulos, has admitted.

In an interview with Kathimerini, the head of the Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP) explained that “the legal market has dropped from a turnover of 8.7 billion euros in 2009 to 5.5 billion in 2013, posting a decline of about 35 percent. The same occurred in gross profits, which dropped from 2.5 billion euros in 2009 to 1.5 billion last year. In the illegal market, EEEP figures estimate there are between 60,000 and 100,000 illegal gaming machines at non-licensed gambling spots, and a conservative guess puts their turnover at between 4 and 5 billion euros. Their gross profits should come to 1.5 billion, not including online gambling, which had a turnover of about 1 billion euros.”

Giannakopoulos also confirmed that OPAP still holds the Internet betting monopoly in Greece and added that the state is creating an electronic identity mechanism for winning betting slips in order to reduce money laundering.

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