Opposition Mounts to Mykonos Casino Construction Proposal

Municipal authorities of the Greek island of Mykonos have launched a process for gathering signatures for a referendum on the potential construction of a casino. The move came after it was announced that the Greek government was considering a gambling bill that, among other things, would expand the country’s casino industry.

Under the bill, three new casino licenses could be issued for each of three Greek islands, with those being Mykonos, Crete, and Santorini. All three are among Greece’s major tourist hubs.

Local media reported that Mykonos Mayor Constantinos Koukas recently proposed the launch of a signature collection process. The move was approved by the Mykonos council without objection and was launched shortly after.

It is understood that Mykonos officials are trying to collect enough signatures for a referendum at which residents will be able to voice their opinion on the proposed casino. According to local media, the island’s Mayor and council undertook the move in hopes to prevent the construction of the gambling venue.

Casino Expansion in Greece

Greece’s casino expansion effort came as part of the government’s plan to overhaul the nation’s gambling industry. The changes have been pushed for by the Ministry of Finance for quite some time now.

The draft bill under consideration will allow for a certain amount of liberalization of the nation’s gambling market as well as for certain regulatory reforms in relation to the provision of a number of gambling services.

If approved, the piece of legislation will permit the construction of three new casinos on the Crete, Santorini, and Mykonos islands, and the relocation of six existing casinos, including Regency Casino Mont Parnes, known to be the capital Athens’ single land-based Las Vegas-style casino. The hotel and casino complex is currently located nearly 40 kilometers away from downtown Athens. It operates 50 table games and 700 slot machines.

Here it is important to note that the legislative piece is also concerned with the way gambling services are taxed, including gambling services provided on casino floors. At present, Greece’s casinos contribute between 22% and 35% of their annual gross gambling revenue. The bill calls for the implementation of a flat rate. Said rate will be decided upon at a later stage.

It is believed that the Greek government will vote on the casino expansion proposal before Christmas. And according to reports from local media, the bill has already gained quite a lot of momentum and will likely be passed.

If the bill is approved, it will come into force as a law on January 1, 2020. The government’s planned overhaul of the nation’s industry also includes its online gaming sector. The legislative piece contains provisions that will create a licensing system for foreign gambling operators to be able to participate in the country’s market.

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