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All bets off for Betfair in Greece as exchange withdraws from market

2nd December 2012 / lee

Online betting exchange Betfair has decided to pull the plug on its market operations in Greece. The main reason for them pulling out is cited to be the confusing regulations regarding online gambling in the country and problems with controversial operating permits. The Greek Gaming Commission are able to pursue financial penalties for operators who do operate in the market without a permit and could also press legal charges against directors. Because of other significant legal issues which the betting exchange could run into, all bets are off for Betfair in the troubled country.

Athens sent a stern warning to directors of online gambling companies, that imprisonment could be a possibility if new operating permits are not applied for. Betfair had not gotten to the stage of applying for a permit in the country and after analysing the market, they will not be doing so. Betfair believe that the stance from the Greek Government is “inconsistent” with European laws. A statement from the online betting exchange said  “according to legal advice received, the value of [permits required to operate] is unclear and we consider the gambling legislation in the country to be inconsistent with European law”.

Before deciding to pull the plug on their Greek operations, Betfair said that they were expecting to make around £13m worth of revenue from the country this year, not enough to warrant forging ahead to enter the Greek online gambling market officially, as the regulations would not make the venture profitable. Betfair sent back a stern message themselves to Athens, stating that the gambling market in the country was “economically unattractive.” The permits for operation in Greece could cost operators as much as 40pc tax on not only future takings, but historic ones as well.

The deadline set by Greece for online gambling operators to apply for a licence is December 6th, 2012 and could also affect William Hill who operate without a permit in the country. It was only recently that Betfair decided to pull out of Germany as well, with high tax levies costing the betting exchange.

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