The principle underlying the regulation of gambling in Greece is that of the general prohibition of gambling in public places or at any other location (Articles 2 and 3, 3037/2002 Act). In general, any authorized game works on the basis of a legal exception to this prohibition.
Greek law recognizes three categories of games played for money: gambling, mixed games and games of skill. The State has exclusive management of the games. This exclusivity principle is based on the dangers of gambling activities. Exceptions to the total set of prohibition are justified by the allocation of their product to worthy causes but also by the need to bail out state coffers. Government refers stakeholders which it confers the exclusive right of the organization and operation of certain types of games. These include the Organization of prognoses in football matches (Greek: OPAP), the Organization of bets on horse races (Greek: ODIE) and casinos.
Gambling with electric machines, electromechanical and electronic games, and technique games, are only allowed on the premises of casinos. However, the technique recreation card games are in principle free. Authorization of recreation technique games with cards is necessary for an institution when the games are played on specially designed tables. This authorization is granted by the municipality on whose territory the institution is located (Article 8, new content of the law 2515/1997). The creation of casinos may be permitted for a limited number of cases determined by law (currently 12) subject to strict conditions.
Gambling activities are subject to taxes principal assigned to the budget of the Greek State or a trust for the sport, and to a lesser extent, in the case of authorized casinos and establishments for card games, to benefit also the localities in whose territories are installed these institutions.
Greece is a unitary state, this national report does not distinguish between the legislation, case law and other standards set at the federal level and those established at the provincial level.
The various definitions of games within the scope of application of the law 3037/2002, establishing a general principle of prohibition in public places or in any other place, are set out in its first article as follows:
- a. Mechanical games (Greek: mechanika diexagomena pegnia) are those that require for their functioning muscle strength of the players.
- b. Power games (Greek: electrika diexagomena pegnia) are those that require for their operation the presence of electric based mechanisms.
- c. Electromechanical games (Greek: electromechanika diexagomena pegnia) are those that require for their operation the presence of electrical base mechanisms and the contribution of muscle strength of the players.
- d. Electronic games (Greek: electronika diexagomena pegnia) are those which, in addition to basic electrical , electronic mechanisms or otherwise for their operation, require the existence and application of computer software (program).
- e. Technical recreation games (Greek: psichagogika technika pegnia) are those whose outcome depends solely on technical or intellectual capacity of the players and exclusively to their hobby.