European Court Rules Greek Monopoly in Violation of EU Law European Court Rules Greek Monopoly in Violation of EU Law
babykrul, SXC Standard Restrictions
Key Takeaways
  • Greece must immediately begin processing license applications from foreign operators applying to offer online gaming.
  • ECJ ruled that a transitional period where license applications could be ignored is in breach of EU law.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has finally issued a ruling that breaks OPAP’s Greek Gaming Monopoly.

EU licensed operators have been given the green light to make immediate applications to offer online gaming, including poker, in Greece.

The ruling comes as the result of an action brought in 2004 by Stanleybet which sought an “annulment of the Greek authorities’ tacit rejection of its application” to be given permission to provide sport betting services to Greek customers.

William Hill and Sportingbet followed up with similar actions in 2007.

A majority of members of the Greek national court ruled that the monopoly breached European law, but the minority dissension led them to ask for an ECJ ruling on three questions.

In response to two of these questions, the ECJ ruled that it was up to the State itself to decide. However, responding to the third question, the ECJ was explicit in prohibiting any form of transitional period where licenses applications from other operators could be ignored.