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Greeks Spent Billions Gambling in Last Eight Months

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Between January and August of this year, Greeks spent a total of 22.7 billion euros on gambling. Credit: Chingster23/flickr CC BY 2.0.

The Greek gaming industry saw a turnover surge of 28% between January and August, which puts the country on track for a new record by the end of the year.

Greeks have parted with a total of 22.7 billion euros in those eight months, which have gone towards online gambling, chance games organized by the Greek Organization of Football Prognostics (OPAP), land-based casinos, lotteries and horse racing, according to figures published by the Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEP).

The data shows that gambling companies returned 92.5% of the bets, which means players collectively lost 1.7 billion euros between January and August. Compared with the same period in 2022, the gaming industry’s turnover is up by 28%.

Gambling is also a tradition on New Year in Greece.

Greeks gambling online

Some estimates suggest the gaming sector – which contributes a lot to tax revenues – will set a new record this year, especially as the growth rate of online gambling has increased by 33% in the eight-month period.

Greeks spent 29.2 billion euros on gambling last year, and 16 billion euros pre-pandemic, in 2019. As the sector’s most popular method, online gambling was responsible for a 17 billion euro turnover between January and August this year. This total turnover increase in the gambling industry can largely be attributed to the shift to online betting over time.

The 24 EU-licensed gambling companies who have provided sports betting online since 2012, had a combined turnover of 2 billion euros in 2015, which increased by more than four times – to 8.5 billion – in 2019, more than doubled in 2021 to 17.5 billion and in 2022 reached 21.3 billion.

The total gross gaming revenue (GGR) of the companies – calculated by taking away the profits assigned to the winning players from the money they betted – also shows an upward trend.

According to the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s estimates, GGR rose by 13% during January to August this year, to 1.7 billion from the same period last year. This year, GGR is expected to reach 915 million euros.

Even given this increase, not all players can make money from the industry’s development. Land-based casinos have seen significant losses because of the shift to online gambling, with around half of them showing negative equity due to high operating costs and the closure of businesses during Covid lockdowns.

OPAP is a Greek company, which organizes and conducts games of chance. Its headquarters are in Athens and for several years the company was a state-owned gambling monopoly. The company holds the exclusive rights to organize and manage numerical lotteries and sports betting in Greece.

The company’s privatization was complete in 2013 through the sale of Greece’s remaining 33% stake to the Emma Delta investment scheme.

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