According to Directive 98/34/EC, drafts of «technical rules» and «rules according to services» shall be notified to the Commission. The adoption and implementation of legal and regulatory texts notified to the Commission shall be postponed for 3 months beginning from the date of the notification’s receipt («standstill period»). Thus, the Commission or another member state may formulate a detailed opinion pursuant to which the proposed measures present aspects that may potentially create barriers to the free movement of goods within the European market.
Gaming Supervision and Control Commission (GSCC) adopted decision n. 23/3/23.10.2012, which further to banning the creation and operation of websites, by posing relevant prohibitions and penalties to Internet Service Providers as well as credit institutions established in Greece, also obliged Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to transmit to GSCC personal data of persons responsible for the operation and management of those websites that conduct games of chance without the required license, also recorded in the relevant “black list”. The ISPs’ aforementioned obligation, exceeding Law 4002/2011 provisions, along with the imposition of new technical rules, eventually led the GSCC on 13.12.12, after the intervention of the European Commission, to the said decision’s withdrawal and that until E.C.’s final approval, in accordance with Directive 98/34 provisions.
Finally, on 18.12.2012, a draft of the abovementioned decision was submitted for approval to the European Commission. After refusal by the European Commission of the Greek government’s request for examination under the urgent procedure, its implementation was suspended for at least three months (standstill period), i.e. till 19.03.2013.
During the above period, penalties’ imposition on illegal players is therefore suspended, namely those who did not opt-in to the tax regime of the transitional period in December 2011.
The intense debate regarding the concession of a monopoly to OPAP for online betting, as well, at least till 2020, whereas Law 4002/2011 provides for licences to be provided via an international public tender, creates reasonable reactions both from the 24 companies which opted-in to the transitional regime and paid the relevant taxes as well as from of European and international market players who did not opt-in the transitional tax regime. It is, therefore, expected that in case article 25 par. 3 (Law 4002/2011), which for the provision of licences of online conduct of games of chance provided an international public tender, following a decision of the Minister of Finance, is finally amended, the abovementioned will recourse to Justice.