ECONOMY

Greeks take to online gaming

Punters gambled almost three times as much money last year as they had done in 2015

Greeks take to online gaming

Gambling in Greece has soared in recent years, with the advent of online gaming, as total gaming revenue (TGR) came to in 2021 – almost threefold compared to 2015 – according to figures from the Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP).

In 2015, when EEEP presented its remote gambling data for the first time, TGR had amounted to 7.7 billion euros, with the then 24 holders of temporary permits for online games accounting for about €2 billion. Last year, based on the EEEP report, TGR amounted to €22.5 billion, of which €17.2 billion concerned online games of chance. This means that within six years the revenues of online expanded nine times.

Compared to 2020, the total gaming revenue of the market grew 35.4% last year, while online gambling recorded 77.55% annual growth.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR), which concerns the turnover minus the earnings paid out, amounted to €1.9 billion last year, up 14.53% from 2020. Compared to 2015, GGR for online gaming has grown beyond proportion, as back then it had amounted to just €116 million. Online gambling accounted for 38.73% of GGR last year, with the rest concerning gaming at physical outlets.

According to the EEEP report, the games that suffered most due to the pandemic last year were those taking place in the physical network – i.e. those played at the OPAP stores, as well as casinos, the various lotteries and horse racing. Even though the performance of the market in 2021 reduced the major decline recorded in 2020, online gaming remains the big winner as it continues to absorb most of spending on gambling from the physical network.

The lion’s share as far as physical gaming is concerned went once again to OPAP stores last year, as they accounted for turnover of €3.9 billion, or 17.34% of TGR in Greece. Casinos accounted for €623 million or 3.87% of TGR.

In 2021 the state collected revenues of €560 million from this industry, as well as €13 million in earnings that were not collected by their winners.