People in Greece can now legally play online poker through PokerStars. Flutter Entertainment brands are now up and running in the market through the PokerStars.gr domain. This launch has been a long time in the works.
The operator initially got the green light from the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) for a license last July. For the past six months, there has been extensive testing taking place to make sure that all aspects of the PokerStars offering were okay with the authorities.
It is not just the online poker that PokerStars has brought into the country. The operator also has a sportsbook and online casino up and running in Greece.
With regards to poker, PokerStars can pool players in Greece with those in other countries. This allows for greater level liquidity, allowing for bigger tournaments and larger prize pools. This is possible thanks to the flexible gambling regulations that Greece has in place.
Opening up the Online Gambling Sector in Greece
The Greek market is seen as one with a lot of potential. A regulated online gambling market has only been around for a short time in the nation.
Online gambling laws received an update in 2021, and a number of operators subsequently got licenses. As well as Flutter, the likes of Stakelogic and BGaming also got the green light.
In all, the HGC handed out 15 online gambling licenses last July. Previously, operators had been able to go live through temporary licenses.
Greece introduced a ban on online gambling in 2002. There was a monopoly in place by a state-run operator.
However, in recent years it saw the potential revenues that could be earned through an open regulated market and set about expanding the sector. It is still in its early stages, with other operators expected to launch in the coming years.
Flutter’s European Expansion
Flutter Entertainment has its eyes set on a wide-ranging European expansion. It recently opened a new office in Spain to help with its efforts to grow in the nation.
The company recently acquired a leading Italian gambling operator for about €1.9 billion from the US private equity firm CVC Capital.
Flutter is hoping to bring PokerStars and Betfair into the Italian market. With these two brands working alongside the Sisal operations, Flutter wants to have at least a 20% market share in Italy.
While Greece is a lot smaller than the likes of Spain and Italy with its population of about 11 million, it is still a decent market. The latest annual figures for gross gaming revenue in the country were from 2020 when they reached €540 million.
Last year’s results have not yet been released, but they are expected to be a significant year-on-year increase. One issue that persists in Greece is the 10% withholding tax on online players that is in place. This applies to all Greek residents.