Casino concessions for Crete, Santorini, Mykonos on the cards

Tornos News — The Greek government is planning a liberalization of the gaming sector in the country, with the intent of allowing the establishment of casinos in well-known tourism destinations in the country, such as the islands of Crete, Santorini and Mykonos.

Three new gaming licenses for the specific islands are included in a draft bill tabled in Parliament, while another six casinos already in operation will be allowed to relocate. The latter is particularly important for the greater Athens area’s sole casino, a Hyatt Regency-run casino (Mont Parnes) in  Parnitha.

If approved, the bill would also allow the relocation of casinos in Thessaloniki, Loutraki, Rio (outside the western port city of Patras), Alexandroupolis, in the extreme northeast, and Florina, close to the border with Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM).

A report accompanying the draft legislation states that the goal is to improve connection of the gaming sector with tourism, to decrease the state’s share in licensed casinos’ gross profits, to impose a unified coefficient for the state’s stake in such concessions and to promote the “casino resort” model, one linked to shopping and hotels.

The draft bill will be voted on in Greek Parliament before Christmas, it is expected to come into force on January 1, 2020 and it foresees the semi-autonomous Hellenic Gaming Commission is given greater jurisdiction and acquires a decisive role in licensing and regulating casinos in the country.

It also imposes a flat tax rate to casinos with gaming tax liability currently ranging from 22 to 35% and will be up for public consultation at until December 11.