ECONOMY

Ambitious gambling tax estimate

A recent letter sent by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to the Eurogroup included a provision that Athens foresees the collection of some 500 million euros per year in revenues from taxing online gambling. One wonders how he came to that amount.

State revenues from online gambling in the European Union barely reach 10 percent of gaming companies’ revenues, which in 2015 are expected to come to 13 billion euros.

According to a European Commission report, gross revenues in Greece after punters’ gains are deducted (i.e. 80-90 percent) came close to 250 million euros in 2011.

At that time there were some 60 online gambling companies operating illegally with Greek language versions; their annual turnover reached an estimated 2 billion euros.

After deducting the 80-90 percent payout to punters, 160-240 million euros in gross revenues is left to be taxed by the Greek authorities.

Therefore, the actual amount the Greek state can expect from taxing the gross revenues of the until recently illegal online gambling companies will be some eight to 10 times smaller than the 500 million euros the Greek finance minister promised to collect in the letter to his eurozone peers last week.