PokerStars Launches in Greece Six Months After Securing License
Posted on: January 31, 2022, 11:23h.
Last updated on: February 1, 2022, 10:36h.
It’s been a long time coming, but PokerStars is now legally available to poker players in Greece. Flutter Entertainment has introduced the global gaming platform under the PokerStars.gr domain name.
The journey toward a successful launch for Flutter and its PokerStars brand in Greece was a long one. The gaming operator received its license from the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) in July of last year. It then spent the last six months making sure everything was in order.
In an announcement on Jan. 28, Flutter indicated that PokerStars, PokerStars Sports, and PokerStars Casino are now up and running. Because Greece has flexible iGaming regulations, players on the platform can be pooled with players in other jurisdictions to increase tournament sizes and winnings.
The launch gives Flutter and its iGaming arms significant access to a flourishing market. The country updated its online gaming laws last year, with the HGC advancing the market soon after. It approved a number of new licenses, including those of Flutter, BGaming, Stakelogic and more.
Flutter Takes PokerStars on a World Tour
This expansion into Greece is a further example of Flutter’s European objectives. It follows the opening of an office in Ceuta, Spain, to support operations in the country. Flutter iGaming brand Betfair has been operating in Spain since 2011.
Flutter also recently acquired Sisal, a leading operator in the Italian gambling market. Last month, it bought the assets from US private equity firm CVC Capital for €1.9 billion (US$2.13 billion).
The company stated that Betfair and PokerStars will be key players in its Italian commercial strategy. It plans to use the two, together with Sisal, to control at least a 20% market share.
Greece Expands its Gambling Market
Greece banned online gambling in 2002. However, it began working on a plan several years ago to bring back the segment. As has been the case in other jurisdictions, the country’s leaders realized that legalized gambling could deliver important economic benefits. They’re still in the process of filling out its market.
After ten years of dominance by a state-run monopoly, the HGC decided to issue temporary licenses and develop the country’s gambling industry. It then issued 15 online gambling licenses on July 5 of last year. These were the first permanent licenses issued since 2002.
Greece is relatively small compared to other markets. It has a population of around 11 million, which is roughly one-third of what is found in the UK, France, or Italy. In addition, the appeal of online gambling in the country is limited by a 10% player withholding tax, which all Greek residents must pay.
The HGC previously indicated that gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the online gambling segment was €437 million ($490.83 million) in 2019. This increased to €540 million ($606 million) the following year.
Last year’s results are not yet ready, but the online gambling segment is expected to see continued growth.
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