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Betfair to Exit Greece

Betfair, which left the German market earlier this month, has announced its intention to depart from the Greek online gaming market until regulations in the country are fully clarified.

Greece’s gaming legislation is facing a legal challenge from the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), who claim that the current online gaming laws in the country are unfair and not workable. “[The regulations] are blatantly protectionist in nature and if EU Internal Market rules mean anything, then the European Commission must take prompt action to make Greece reconsider,” RGA chief executive Clive Hawkswood told eGaming Review.

Betfair had anticipated revenues over £13 million from the Greek market this year. But the online betting exchange has decided to pull out voluntarily prior to a Dec. 5 deadline issued by Greek gaming officials who told a number of offshore operators to exit the market or face legal action.

Betfair issued a statement saying that “there are significant issues with the legality of this [Dec. 5 deadline]. However, until greater clarity is received, we have taken the decision to withdraw from the market and will continue to support the RGA’s efforts.” Those efforts include working toward a marketplace that allows for fair competition.

The European Commission has recently vowed to take action against several countries that have not complied with EU regulations. Belgium, Greece and Germany are at the forefront of those EC efforts. The RGA and European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) together filed a complaint with the EC regarding OPAP’s monopoly in Greece and the non-compliance of the country’s regulations to EU law.

“When the Greek Government said it was going to license and regulate the domestic online gambling market, we welcomed this as a positive step,” Hawkswood said. “However, instead of encouraging the development of a competitive and well-regulated market, the Greek Government and Gaming Commission are blocking major European private operators from it.”

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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.