EU slams Greece over casino discrimination
(BRUSSELS) - European regulators slammed Greece on Tuesday for unlawfully taxing private casinos at a higher level in practice than private competitors.
A 10-month investigation "found that the lower taxation of admissions in state-owned casinos is unlawful aid because it creates a fiscal discrimination in favour of public casinos without an objective justification," a European Commission statement said.
Casino entry is taxed at 80 percent of the ticket price in public and private casinos, but as private casinos are required by law to charge 15 euros ($21) compared to just six euros for public casinos, "the different fiscal treatment provides an advantage available only to the state-owned casinos," the commission added.
Brussels noted that private casino operators are invariably international hotel groups, "whose decisions to invest or divest can be affected by the selective measure."
The European Union executive, which is currently demanding that the bailed-out Greek government push through some 50 billion euros worth of state sell-offs, ordered the recovery of what it said amounts to "incompatible aid" going back to 1999.
The sums to be recovered remain unclear, it added.
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