Il­le­gal VLTs com­mand turnover of 1 bln eu­ros

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

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.

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