Monday, September 17, 2018

Greece’s €8 Billion Casino Sees Huge Investor Interest Despite New Taxes for Online Operators

Casino News Daily
Greece’s €8 Billion Casino Sees Huge Investor Interest Despite New Taxes for Online Operators

Several international gaming giants are apparently eying the ambitious €8 billion Hellinikon casino project, intended to become the first integrated casino resort in Europe. The gambling sector is expected to grow as online operators will be required to pay €5 million to receive a gambling license, according to the newly proposed regulations, published last week.

The international tender for a casino license will be opened in October but several companies have already expressed their interest in the project. These include the United States-based giant Caesars Entertainment, the French Groupe Lucien Barriere, as well as two influential Native American brands, namely the Mohegan Sun and Hard Rock. Local Greek newspaper Ekathimerini has now reported that another two firms are now considering bidding.

According to the news outlet, which cites an unnamed source, one of them is Miura Holdings, a company based in Las Vegas. The other potential operator is Clairevest Group, private equity management firm from Toronto, Canada. It manages approximately $1.7 billion of equity capital, including in companies in the gambling and entertainment sector.

There might be a cooperation between two or more of these companies. Sources say Mohegan Sun is in “close relations” with Miura Holdings, so the two firms may apply together or even plan to work together in the future casino project. There will not be an announcement for the tender until early October but potential casino operators are already taking the local regulations and taxes into consideration.

This would certainly include the options for online presence where authorities are preparing to introduce new regulation. Earlier this month, it became clear that the gambling business in the country is becoming quite expensive as only for casino licenses, operators will have to pay €5 million.

More Restrictions for Online Gambling Operators

Online gambling operators in Greece will now be facing more restrictions and will need to meet more requirements. On September 11, the Greek Ministry of Finance published new regulations regarding taxation of gambling businesses and Internet-based operators, to be precise. According to the newly proposed rules, operators of online sports betting platforms will need to pay €4 million in order to obtain a sports betting license.

If they plan to offer casino games and other types of online gambling services, however, they will need to get an additional license, which will cost €1 million. These permits will be valid for 5 years and licensees will be required to renew them at least a year before the expiration date. In addition, operators will also need to have a license from at least one other European country. If a company’s permit has been suspended in Greece in the past 12 months, it will not be able to receive a new one.

Although firms will be required to have a license in another country and will need to prove they possess a certain amount of money, they will have to deposit €500,000 as part of their application. The Ministry does not specify whether it plans to change the original 35% tax on operator revenue. However, its new document includes a tax on online gambler’s winnings. Winnings under €100 will not be subject to a tax, while winnings between €100 and €500 will be charged a 15% tax. The tax for winnings above €500 will be 20%.

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