Gamers face jail in Greece

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 19 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

This just baffles me. Why would any government do this? Makes me glad to be an American.

From ZDNet

A new law passed in Greece means that anybody carrying an electronic game – even if it is just on a mobile phone – could face a hefty fine or lengthy jail sentence

Here’s the complete text of the law:
LAW NUMBER 3037 – 30 July 2002


The President of Greek Republic

We issue the following law which was voted by the Greek Parliament


Article 1

Game categories


According to notion of the commands of the current law:

a. Mechanical games are those, that depend on one’s muscle force.

b. Electrical games are those, that depend on electrical mechanisms.

c. Electromechanical games are those that depend on electrical mechanisms and the use of one’s muscle force.

d. Electronic games are those, that depend on both electrical-electronic mechanisms and software.

e. Entertainment technical games are those, whose result depends exclusively on the ability and skill of the

player, and are used solely for entertainment.

The category (e) also includes all card games which had been characterised as

“technical” games, according to the statement of law F.E.K A21.


Article 2

Game prohibition


1. Operation and installation of any game of type (b), (c) and (d) of Article 1, including computer games,

placed in public places such as hotels, cafeterias, organization halls and in any other public or private

place, is prohibited.

2. Operation of games of type (e) is allowed in devices of type (a). Regarding these games, it is prohibited to place bets.

Such bets will attract penalties described in Articles 4 and 5.


Article 3

Internet cafes


The prohibition of using computers described in Article 2 does not affect internet cafes, as long as the computers

are not used for any gaming activities.

To be able to run an Internet cafe, a special permit is required from the municipal or the state where the

company is based) and from its starting point (port) if it is a boat based company. According to the first

application of this measure, the company should be equipped with this permit in three months

from the issue date of this law.


Article 4

Criminal sanctions


1. Any persons who manage or depend on centres or other places as described in paragraph 1 of Article 2

where games prohibited by the previous Articles are in use or even exist, will be penalised with at least

three months of jail plus a fine of at least 5,000 Euros. If this offense is repeated, the penalty will be at least

one year of jail plus a fine between 25,000 and 75,000 Euros. The court will also command the confiscation

of all those games.

2. The orders for the games of type “c”, in paragraph 1, paragraph 3 and 4 of Article 7 of the coded command

29/1971 are followed accordingly.


Article 5

Administrative sanctions


1. Apart from the criminal sanctions, if it is found that a prohibited game, according to the commands of the previous

articles, there will be a fine of 10,000 Euros for every such game and permanent taking away of the business

license, according to the orders of Article 7.

2. The fine will be based on the decision of the corresponding authority, in paragraph 1 of Article 6, who had

found the violation. In this decision the violation will be described, the fine will be underlined, as well as the

order in use. Together with this decision, a copy of the violation report will be notified towards the violator.


Article 6

Report of confirmation of violations


1. The police authorities are responsible to enforce this law. The port authorities are responsible for boats

traveling domestically, and for any other boats staying at the corresponding port.

2. If the authorities for the “body for fighting financial crime” find violations of the law for the games, they

will impose the sanctions and will proceed to actions described in the previous article.


Article 7



1. The terms, conditions, procedures and permits for Internet companies are determined by the common decision

of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Public Administration, Ministry of Public Order

and Ministry of Trading.

2. A similar decision establishes the authority which enforces the taking away of business licenses, the

procedure of taking it away as well as any other necessary details for applying the orders of this law.


Article 8

Tax returns


Whoever has already paid ” tax for running businesses with entertainment technical games” for 2002 for

electronical, electrical or electromechanical games, will have their tax returned corresponding to the time

of the publication of the law in the Government’s Paper until the end of the year. No returns will be made

in the case of violation of the law for games and there is no awaiting court case in front of the Committee

in paragraph 4 of article 15 of law 2753/1999 (FEK 249 A’).


Article 9

Maintained and transitive orders


1. With the orders of this law, there are no complications with the orders of the law 2206/1994 (FEK 62 A’)

as well as the rest of the orders regarding casinos.

2. From the start of the enforcement of this law, the three-member game committees which are established by

the orders in paragraph 4 of article 15 of law 2753/1999, cease to exist. They will still exist though, until the

finish of check up of the game machines that had been binded by the auditor authorities and for which there

had been a reserve.


Articles 10, 11, and 12 describe the changes in the laws only for card games and are not relative with the

game machine orders.


ATHENS 29th of July 2002