With Greek authorities making 300 arrests in 51 raids in the last fortnight of 2016 alone, it would appear that illegal gambling at internet cafes and unlicensed mini-casinos appears to be on the up.
It has been reported that over the course of last year police raided 480 establishments operating unlicensed gambling terminals or illegal casino games and made a total of 1,513 arrests, also seizing some €160,000 in cash, according to official figures provided by gaming watchdog Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP).
Authorities have also seized hundreds of computers that were illegally used as VLTs, which appear to be the favoured game played by Greek citizens seeking to gamble.
The Illegal VLT Gambling is estimated to be a €1bn market that results in losses to the Greek state from taxes of around €300m-€400m.
Authorities have said that restricting this activity is a difficult task as the fines for operating illegal gambling machines are extremely low compared with the potential profits.
Earlier this week, the Greek independent authority Commission for Supervision and Regulation of Gaming introduced a gaming project to grant further licenses to operate authorised slot machines.,
However, the long-delayed plans to add an additional 35,000 VLTs to the Greek market have hit yet another hurdle after the Athens Municipality and several casino operators filed a formal motion to block the licensing process. The reason for this motion is based on a perceived threat to their own operations.
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