Irish gambling and bookmaking company Flutter Entertainment has proudly added another jurisdiction to its expanding global portfolio. Following some long-time efforts of the company, poker players in Greece are finally legally able to access PokerStars. At the end of January, the online gambling and poker brand’s owner has officially introduced the platform under the PokerStars.gr domain.
It has been a long effort for Flutter Entertainment and its PokerStars brand to set foot in Greece. The local gambling regulatory body – the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) – granted an operating license to the gambling company in July 2021, and then the operator spent the last 6 months making sure that everything was in line with the country’s legislation and the Commission’s prescriptions.
In an announcement made by Flutter Entertainment on January 28th, the Irish gambling giant indicated that PokerStars, PokerStars Casino and PokerStars Sports are already available in Greece. Thanks to the fact that the country currently has flexible regulations in terms of online gambling, customers of the platform can be pooled with customers in other jurisdictions and boosts tournament sizes and winnings.
The official launch of PokerStars in Greece provides Flutter Entertainment with access to a flourishing gambling market. In 2021, the European country updated its online gambling legislation, with the Hellenic Gaming Commission advancing the market soon after that. The gambling regulatory body gave the green light to several new operating licenses, including the ones held by Flutter Entertainment, Stakelogic, BGaming, etc.
Greek Gambling Sector Expected to Grow in the Years to Come
The successful expansion into the Greek gambling market once again proved that Flutter Entertainment remains focused on its European objectives. Before officially setting a foot in Greece, the company supported its Spanish operations by opening an office in Ceuta. Betfair, the online gambling brand of the company, has been offering its services in Spain for more than a decade now since 2011.
Recently, the Irish gambling group took over Sisal, one of the leading operators in the Italian gambling sector. In January 2022, it also acquired the assets from CVC Capital in a deal estimated at €1.9 billion. The gambling operator explained that PokerStars and Betfair will be placed as leading players in the company’s commercial strategy for the Italian market. Flutter Entertainment plans to use both of them, along with Sisal, to control at least 20% of the country’s gambling industry.
As for the company’s expansion in Greece, that was something that took Flutter Entertainment some time. Greece officially suspended online gambling in 2002. However, a few years ago, the country’s Government started working on a plan to legalize the segment once again as it started recognizing online gambling as a segment that could account for important economic benefits. Currently, Greece is still in the process of sorting out its strategy for its gambling industry.
After a decade of dominance by a state-run monopoly, the Hellenic Gaming Commission finally decided to issue temporary operating licenses for the country’s gambling industry in order for further development of the sector to start. On July 5th, 2021, it issued a total of 15 online gambling permits, which have been the first permanent licenses issued in the country since 2002.
PReviously, the HGC shared that the online gambling sector’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) was estimated at €437 million in 2019. In 2020, it increased to €540 million, and the results for 2021 are still being prepared, but the local authorities still expect to see further growth.