Illegal gaming still a problem

Illegal gaming still a problem

Despite the police dismantling various illegal gambling rings from time to time, other gambling activity that is not legal – i.e. without licensing – is flourishing in Greece, according to the revealing findings of a nationwide survey conducted from December 20, 2022 to February 2, 2023 by KAPA Research on behalf of the Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP).

Specifically, last year 800,000 people spent 1.4 billion euros playing illegal games of chance, with the lion’s share going toward conventional games, such as slot machines, but also gambling at illegal casinos. According to the survey, during the last 12 months, 12% of those who play illegal games of chance spent 588 million euros on legal games as well.

The majority (62%) of those who choose to play illegal online games are men, while around another 50% of the money spent on that goes toward more betting. What attracts those who choose illegal games of chance is the fact that the winnings are tax-free, returns are higher, and players do not need to be identified.

Among online illegal games, the first preference of the players is electronic slot machines (40.22%), followed by internet betting (38.15%) and online casino games (21.63%). According to the survey, online slot machines are particularly popular among women, followed by online betting and online casino games. Among 35 to 44-year-olds, online casinos are at the forefront of preference (53.3%), while this is the case with online slot machines in the 45-54 age group.

Players are informed of the chance to take part in illegal gaming activities mainly through friends, and acquaintances, as well as advertisements on social media.

EEEP head Dimitris Ntzanatos is oriented toward upgrading the attractiveness of legal gambling, aiming to contain illegal gaming, by limiting illegal transactions and the illegal display and promotion of unlicensed games of chance, but also in strengthening prevention and suppression mechanisms. In this direction, EEEP is looking forward to the creation of a special group that will be in charge of combating illegal gambling.

The authority also keeps a black list of unlicensed gambling providers.

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