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Greek Geeks Fight Gaming Ban
posted by: Shawn Rider
date posted: 09:10 AM Thu Sep 5th, 2002
last revision: 06:37 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

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UPDATE: As of September 9, 2002, the two Greek internet cafe owners face no more worries. A Greek court threw the case out, calling the law, implemented in July, unconstitutional. The two internet cafe owners faced jail sentences up to three months and up to $5000 in fines. Expect to see this law re-addressed in the near future.


A word to all of our Greek readers: Fight the power. We have heard from you on occasion, and thanks to your heads-up and some reporting from the BBC World News (their article can be seen here), we can now give the rest of the world the story.

As of July 30, 2002, in Greece all videogames have been banned. The Greek Government put the ban in place to combat illegal online gambling, but they neglected to put in the proper loopholes to protect gaming on all platforms. According to the law, Greeks who play videogames in an arcade, on a PC, or on their consoles (Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Gamecube to name a few) can be arrested and face a fine of up to 150,000 Euros (about US$149, 631).

According to Greek officials quoted in the BBC article, the ban is only intended to affect gaming in public places, and the Greek police do not intend to raid private homes to enforce the new legislation. Game consoles and PC gaming hardware is still allowed in Greek retail outlets, but the rules severely affect Greek internet cafes and organized gaming functions.

The first three articles of the new law are available in English from the Greek Internet Cafe Union website (click here). They state that \"mechanical\" games and \"technical\" games are OK: these include pen and paper games like Monopoly and card games \"whose result depends exclusively on the ability and skill of the player.\" Of course, gambling on either of these types of games is specifically prohibited.

\"Electronic,\" \"electrical,\" and \"electromechanical\" games are prohibited altogether. These are games which use electrical mechanisms, electronics, or some combination of electrical mechanisms, electronics, and human muscle-power to play. That means all videogames of all types are banned, ranging from Tetris in the arcade to Tetris on the PC to Tetris on the cellular phone.

According to the Greek Internet Cafe Union, the first two internet cafe owners arrested for allowing gaming in their establishments will face trial on September 10.

The Greek Internet Cafe Union is sponsoring a petition to protest the new law. This petition is available from their website, located at http://www.netcafe.gr/.