Poker News

Greece’s Commission for the Supervision and Control of Games (CSCG), a division of the Hellenic Gaming Commission, has published a 401-member blacklist of online gambling sites that will supposedly be prohibited from operating in the Mediterranean nation.

The list will be sent to Greek internet service providers, who will be instructed to deny subscribers’ access to the sites. It will also be sent to the Bank of Greece so it can stop the flow of funds to and from the sites, as well as law enforcement agencies to assist in unlawful gambling investigations.

The blacklist contains a mix of poker, casino, and sports betting sites, though it does appear to be made of mostly casino sites (likely because those types of sites are more prolific than poker sites). Notable poker sites named include:

Bwin.com
PartyPoker.com
PacificPoker.com
PokerStarsBlog.com
HollywoodPoker.com
NordicBet.com
PokerHeaven.com
PKR.com
SunPoker.com
888Poker.com

FullTiltPoker.com, for whatever reason, is not on the blacklist. PokerStars.com is not, either, even though, oddly, its blog is. Many other poker rooms that fall under the umbrella of a casino or sports betting site (for example, intertops.eu) can likely be assumed to have been blacklisted, as well.

Greece has perhaps the most controversial online gaming regulations in Europe. The government strongly favors the Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics S.A., better known as OPAP, which already holds a land-based monopoly on casino gaming. Until October 12th, 2020, OPAP is the only provider which can offer online sports betting, poker cash games, and many casino games. All others, provided they receive a license, will only be allowed to offer “casino-type games of chance, the results of which are not provided by a random number generator as in poker tournaments.” Go ahead, make sense of that.

The European Commission had prohibited this restriction, but it lifted the block earlier this month, paving the way for Greece’s ridiculous regulations to take effect. In January, the OPAP monopoly was ruled illegal by the Court of Justice of the European Union and both the Remote Gambing Association (RGA) and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) have come out forcefully against Greek regulations.

Did we mention that the Greek government owns 34.4 percent of OPAP? Because there’s that.

On top of everything, the government further displayed its corruption a year ago when Cyprus banned most forms of gambling. Because of an agreement between Greece and Cyprus, though, OPAP was permitted to operate land-based gambling venues tax free in Cyprus. And as it turned out, two forms of gambling – sports betting and online lotteries – were not prohibited, the same two types of gambling OPAP offered.

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