Greece has a rich history and is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, which attracted thousands of spectators. The Olympic Games were held yearly in different cities to honor the god Zeus. Back in the day, the five sports in the Olympic Games were running, discus throwing, javelin throwing, wrestling, and the pentathlon.
Ancient Greeks loved placing bets on the Olympic Games. That is why we can safely say that Greece has a long history of gambling. Sports betting has never stopped being a favorite pastime for many Greeks. Today, Greek punters can choose from a range of licensed betting sites after the country finally dismantled OPAP’s monopoly on online gambling and sports betting.
Best Sports Betting Sites in Greece
Online gambling in Greece has been legal since 2012 after the enactment of the 2011 Gambling Act. But in 2012, legislators decided to introduce a monopolistic regime, granting OPAP (the Greek Organization of Football Prognostics) exclusive rights to offer online gambling and sports betting services. In 2021, Greece finally opened its online sports betting market to foreign operators due to pressure on behalf of the European Union. Find a list of the best sportsbooks authorized to operate on Greek soil below.
Best Sports Betting Bonuses in Greece
As mentioned earlier, Greek bettors can pick from a decent range of licensed betting sites that offer generous promotions and competitive odds. When it comes to sports betting bonuses, punters should keep in mind that they have to abide by specific terms and conditions to qualify for a bonus offer and cash out their profits. The most important requirements to take into account are the minimum odds restriction and bonus turnover. Sports betting promotions also have a validity time. Here are the bonuses offered at most Greek betting sites.
Match Deposit Bonus
Licensed betting sites usually offer a variety of enticing promotions. As a newcomer, your sportsbook may treat you to a match deposit bonus. However, you will have to add funds to your account to claim the promotion. If you qualify for this bonus, the sportsbook will match your deposit by a given percentage up to a certain amount.
Many reputable sportsbooks aimed at Greek punters offer free bets as a welcome bonus. Some betting platforms pamper their existing users with free bets to increase bettors’ engagement. If you claim a free bet bonus, you will receive a small amount, which you can use to place a wager on a sporting event. If your bet wins, you will collect the profit from the wager. But if it loses, your real-money balance will remain unchanged.
Another promotion available to Greek punters is cashback. It allows sports fans to get back a percentage of the losses they incur over some time. The refund is usually credited as free bets or real cash. Note that the promotion usually comes with a minimum and maximum cashback amount.
Boosted odds promotions allow sports fans to enjoy a higher payout without adding to the risk. Many betting sites licensed by the Greek gambling regulator offer enhanced odds on various long-awaited events. To benefit from this incentive, you must place a bet on a qualifying event. No minimum deposit is required.
Betting Regulation in Greece
Gambling has always been a popular form of entertainment in Greece. The Olympic Games originated in ancient Greece 3,000 years ago. Even back then, people liked to wager on sports contests. According to some legends, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus were throwing dice in order to split the Universe between the three of them. Therefore, we have grounds to claim that gambling was legal in ancient Greece.
In 1958, the country decided to establish a gambling monopoly, with the only company allowed to provide gambling services to Greek residents being OPAP. At that time, Internet gambling was not even on the horizon. But in the 1990s, online gambling exploded in popularity everywhere.
Greece Legalizes Online Gambling
In 2002, the Greek government passed Law 3037/2002, banning all forms of electronic gaming in an effort to protect Greek residents from the addictive nature of such games. However, the legislation did not differentiate between casino games and video games. In other words, Greek residents were not allowed to play games even on consoles.
Greece was severely affected by the financial crisis in 2008, and the EU agreed to fund a bailout for the country. Struggling with a debt crisis, Greek lawmakers decided to legalize land-based slots and online gambling. In 2011, the Gambling Act was signed into law, and 24 interim licenses were issued to major operators such as Betfair and Willian Hill. The Act also made provisions for the establishment of a permanent licensing regime.
But in 2012, the Ministry of Finance introduced a plan to grant the state-run company OPAP exclusive rights over the country’s online gambling sector. And in November of the same year, companies that acquired temporary licenses were asked to leave the market.
Greece Ends Online Gambling Monopoly
In January 2013, Greece’s monopolistic regime on the online gambling industry was ruled illegal by Europe’s highest court. The EU scolded the country for preventing reliable operators from entering the Greek market. A curious fact is that OPAP’s privatization was completed in October 2013 after Greece agreed to sell its remaining 33% stake in the company for €622 million to Emma Delta.
Pressured by the EU, Greece announced plans to liberalize its online gambling market in 2016. But for several years, nothing changed. In January 2020, the Greek Ministry of Finance finally submitted a draft gambling regulatory framework to the European Commission that would liberalize the country’s online gambling market.
And in 2021, Greece officially ended OPAP’s online gambling monopoly, and the country’s gambling regulator, the Hellenic Gambling Commission (the HGC), awarded 15 licenses to operators. Besides, gambling companies who had obtained interim licenses in 2011 were allowed to continue operating in Greece until the end of March 2020 and apply for a license renewal.
Licensing Conditions and Taxes
Operators interested in offering sports betting services to Greek bettors must obtain a license from the HGC, which costs €3 million and is valid for seven years. Besides, companies must pay an application fee of €10,000 and introduce a bank guarantee of €100,000. Moreover, licensees must operate using a .gr domain and locate their servers in Greece. Licensed operators must pay a 35% tax on their gross gaming revenue (GGR).
Speaking of taxes, we have to note that the country initially imposed a 10% tax on all gambling winnings. But in 2013, Greece adopted a new tax system, according to which the tax on gambling winnings is as follows:
- Winnings of up to €100 are tax-free
- If your winnings exceed €100 but are no more than €200, you will have to pay a 2.5% tax
- For winnings ranging from €200.01 to €500, the tax is 5%
- A tax of 7.5% applies to winnings exceeding €500
Note that the tax is applied progressively to your net winnings.
A crucial thing to mention is that sports fans from Greece must be at least 21 years old to participate in sports betting and gambling activities.
The HCG has a registry of 4,000 blacklisted gambling and sports betting sites that are not allowed to operate on Greek soil. Wagering on credit is strictly prohibited in Greece. On the other hand, gambling advertising is legal but must be undertaken in a socially responsible manner.
Can I withdraw my free bets?
No, free bets are given to punters to place a wager on a sporting event without risking their funds. If the bet wins, sports fans will collect the profit from the wager. Given that your free bet settles as a loss, you will not lose even a cent from your cash balance.
Are there any payment methods excluded from sports betting bonuses?
Usually, operators require punters to make a deposit to qualify for a bonus. Most betting sites allow registrants to use various payment methods, but deposits via Skrill and Neteller are sometimes excluded from bonus offers. Thus, if you intend to use any of these digital wallets, you must ensure that the betting platform does not exclude Skrill and Neteller deposits from the bonus offers up for grabs.
Which authority issues licenses to foreign operators in Greece?
The Hellenic Gambling Commission (the HGC) is the authority that oversees the gambling industry in Greece and issues licenses. It was established in 2004 as an independent administrative authority, which consists of nine members appointed by the Minister of Finance.
How is the Greek gambling market divided between OPAP and foreign operators?
Domestic and offshore gambling and sports betting companies can apply for a license from the Hellenic Gaming Commission. However, land-based casinos and betting shops are subject to OPAP’s monopoly, which was extended until 2030. The company also holds a monopoly on offline and online lotteries, including raffles, instant-win games, scratch cards, keno, and bingo.
Which are the most popular betting markets in Greece?
The most popular sport in Greece is football. The Greek Super League attracts a huge betting action. However, licensed betting sites also provide Greek bettors with the opportunity to wager on international football leagues such as the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, and others. Another sport that Greek punters are fond of is basketball. Athletics, water polo, and volleyball also enjoy great popularity among Greek sports fans.