Illegal VLTs command turnover of 1 bln euros
Illegal gambling at internet cafes and unlicensed mini-casinos appears to be on the rise in Greece, with police making 300 arrests in 51 raids over the last two weeks of 2016 alone. According to official figures from Greek gaming watchdog EEEP, over the course of last year police raided 480 establishments with unlicensed gambling terminals or illegal casino games and made 1,513 arrests, also seizing some 160,000 euros in cash. Authorities have also confiscated hundreds of computers that were illegally used as video lottery terminals, or VLTs, which appear to be the game of choice for Greek gamblers. In fact, experts estimate that illegal VLT gambling is a 1-billion-euro market that deprives the Greek state of around 300400 million euros in taxes. Police say that curbing the phenomenon is a difficult task as the fines for operating illegal gambling machines are extremely low compared with the profits that can be made. A case in point is an establishment in the center of Serres in Macedonia, northern Greece, which was raided eight times in under three months and found to be in violation of gambling laws.
Unattractive for investors. Athens is the least attractive destination for foreign property investors after Moscow among 30 cities this year, according to a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Urban Land Institute. This concerns both direct acquisition of properties and property development.