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The legalisation of video lotto terminals (VLTs) has increased turnover of the leading Greek gaming company OPAP to 1 billion Euros. This rise in revenue has not resulted from new players discovering slot machines, but rather from the legalisation of the existing illegal market.
OPAP has about 10,000 VLTs, a figure which could soon reach 25,000 after the amendment of its contract. However, the country’s Financial Police estimated that there could be more than 100,000 illegal machines in the country. The police confiscate several VLTs from well-hidden spots in cafeterias, internet cafes and other venues every day.
It is estimated that about three-fourth of the official growth of VLT turnover is because of the legalisation of illegal gambling. And it raises the government revenues too. The gambling sector contributed gross gaming revenue (GGR) taxes of 662 million euros in 2017, which is about 35 million euros more than that in 2016.
It should be noted that this tax is not related to the income tax payable at the end of the year, but it is imposed on the turnover of service providers at a rate of almost 30%. This is a considerable increase, as before 2012 that tax was next to zero, while up to 2015 it was only paid by casinos and OPAP.
Last year’s increase in gaming tax revenues mainly stemmed from the dues paid by online service providers (+23 million euros) and to a lesser extent OPAP (+16 million euros). Every year OPAP pays the bulk of these taxes as the amount of tax paid by the privatised gaming giant amounts to 70 per cent of gaming revenues for the state. In 2017 OPAP paid 482 million euros in GGR tax, with all online companies paying 98 million and casinos adding another 81 million euros.
Source: European Gaming Media and Events