|In 2002 to tame rampant illegal gambling, the Greek Government imposed a ban, which prohibits all public gambling or gaming ‘conducted by electronic and mechanical means’ such as the Internet or telephone. Despite a string of court decisions throwing it out as unconstitutional, the country's Internet cafe owners complain, while the law remains in effect. |
The law, which prevented rogue game hall operators who had illegally turned arcade, games consoles into gambling machines has affected Internet café’ owners. The owners have complained of being constantly raided by law enforcement officers and dragged to court in spite of offering run-of-the-mill games such as chess, flight simulators or car races.
‘They treat us like criminals,’ says Aris Assimakopoulos, an Internet cafe in downtown Athens. The city police raided his cybercafé’, threw out all his customers and confiscated 50 PCs besides arresting an employee. According to the Police prohibited video games were being offered to customers, which falls under illegal gambling.
Yiannis Gousakis, another Internet cafe owner says that law officials instead of concentrating on combating illegal gambling, are abusing legitimate Internet cafe owners.
With the Olympics round the corner officials believe Internet gambling, web-based betting would be rampant. But the Internet cafe owners plan to use the worldwide media attention to highlight their problems.