In a hugely significant move that presages a major expansion into Central...
Greece is one of the latest regions to regulate its iGaming framework and open its doors for potential new market entrants.
As with any growing market, there are still some challenging barriers to entry. Factors such as the already established temporary license holders could mean there’s not as much room to grow a healthy market share. With a high ratio of affiliates to operators, building the right digital marketing partnerships will be key.
We recently spoke with Kyriakos Fourniadis, Managing Director for Greece & Romania at Better Collective and his outlook for this region is extremely positive. Read below as he explains what the future of the Hellenic iGaming landscape looks like, where the growth opportunities are and how players will remain protected at the same time.
After many years, operators are finally able to convert their temporary licenses to permanent ones in the Greek market. What does the future hold for Greek online gaming with this regulatory shift?
“After 9 years, the temporary gambling licenses in Greece will be converted to permanent ones and new operators also have the opportunity to apply for a license in the Greek market.
The Greek market has grown steadily in the last years and that trend continues also for the H1 of 2020 where the GGR of the online betting reached €232.2M and based on the current input from the operators that growth continues also for the first months of H2.
With the new regulatory system, long-term stability will be added to the market which, and I foresee, this will contribute to continued sustainable growth.”
What impact do you think Covid – 19 will have on the regulation of iGaming in Europe? With Greece accepting applications for permanent licenses, is this a trend you expect to continue among other European jurisdictions?
“In general, it might have postponed the regulative processes as more urgent social issues have been pushed on top of the agenda – and for good reasons.
Still, overall, we are seeing more and more jurisdictions moving towards a regulatory system, which we strongly support as this generally will strengthen the player protection and lay the foundation for sustainable growth in the markets.”
The Greek market has a notoriously high ratio of affiliates to operators. With new licenses up for grabs, will there be more potential partners to work with? What sort of operator should an affiliate be looking for to make a successful partnership in this region?
“All the existing temporary licensed operators submitted for a permanent license, plus 3 new entries already submitted for entering the market. Despite being one of the most expensive licenses in Europe, I expect more operators will seek opportunities in Greece. This means that overall, we expect around 15-20 operators to be present in the Greek market until the end of 2021. And as for the affiliate side of things, I think there are many active in the Greek market, and it seems there is space for most of them.
With the new legislation coming into effect, I expect to see (which has been the general trend in the industry) some consolidation of the market, which means that most probably the number will decrease.
Overall, it is important to have local market knowledge since the Greek landscape has some special features and in case you don’t localize your products and your services, you are in risk of getting lost.”
Other industry stakeholders like Playtech have also recently invested in the Greek market with a keen focus on the casino sector. Do online casino products offer the most potential for growth in this region? What other products will provide popular content in this market?
“Overall, I would say there is great potential in the Greek market.
Historically we have seen a growth rate of around 30% in total during the 6-year financial crisis and it seems that trend will continue, probably at lower rates in the next few years.
At betarades.gr, Better Collective’s flagship product in Greece, we have seen that the main product that generates the majority of the Gaming revenue is sports betting. The casino vertical seems to have gone up the last 2-3 years, especially slots, and that also took a bigger market share during the last months, where many sports leagues were paused.
My personal prediction for the market is that poker as well will increase again in the future.”
The new Hellenic licenses will also come with an overhaul of the player protection measures. How can the industry work together to ensure a framework is created that allows a competitive market whilst keeping vulnerable players protected?
“Player protection is absolutely essential to have a market that will grow in a sustainable way.
This requires a political structure that supports the protection of the players whilst ensuring a high level of channelisation to licensed actors.
We are happy to see that the new advertising policy, that all the licensed operators will have to follow, is moving towards that direction. We also hope that these new measures for player protection will remain at a balanced level since cases from other markets show that over-regulation may drive players to choose offshore bookmakers and that will harm both the players, the state and the actors operating within the legal framework.”
Editor’s Note: So, despite being one of the most expensive licenses in Europe, it’s clear that Kyriakos sees a lot of value in it.
Greece has seen fantastic growth recently, and with the new regulatory changes, both competition and industry revenue are expected to grow. Key product verticals such as Online Casino, Slots and even Poker will play a large role in this growth.
It’s also great to see that this jurisdiction has a political structure that supports the protection of the players while ensuring a high level of channelisation to licensed actors.
Maintaining the balance between these two aspects will be key to keeping the Hellenic players on-shore and a driving force in the future success of this region.
About Kyriakos Fourniadis
Kyriakos Fourniadis is managing director for Greece & Romania at Better Collective that operates the leading Greek and Romanian platforms Betarades.gr and PariuriX.com. He has over 12 years of experience in the iGaming industry planning and implementing acquisition strategies, launching new products and executing strategy. Prior to his current role at Better Collective he was the founder of the Greek entity which Better Collective acquired in 2018.