As they couldn’t remit their required social security payments to the government, two Greek casinos have been ordered to close for two months.
Greece’s Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) on Thursday, ordered the shutting of the Rio and Thraki (Alexandroupoli) casinos for the next two months as penalty for failing to remit €25m and €12.5m, respectively, in Single Social Security Entity payments to the government.
Both casinos are run by companies controlled by businessman Konstantinos Piladakis, who was notified in December that failure to pay his debts would result in regulatory actions. The venues’ licenses could be permanently cancelled if the debts are not cleared by the end of the two-month suspension.
As reported by calvinayre.com, two other casinos, Club Hotel Casino Loutraki and Casino Corfu, were issued fines of €5k and €75k, respectively, after their owners made arrangements with the government to honor their social security obligations following December’s warning.
Last October, Greece approved new rules to permit the HGC to cancel the gaming license of any casino operator which was unwilling to honor its obligations to the social security program. Greek casinos together owed just over €110m; however, Greek media reported that €61.7m of this amount was recovered before Thursday’s suspensions were issued.
Attorneys representing the two Piladakis-owned casinos apparently told the HGC that the law being used to implement the collection was invalid, in that the debts it intended to collect preceded it by several months.
The two suspended casinos have apparently been suffering financially for a while and Theros International Gaming and Vivere Entertainment, the two companies which run the suspended casinos may use the suspension as an excuse to filing for bankruptcy protection to evade their debt obligations.
Greece’s casinos are typically small businesses and the government’s attempts to open a world-class integrated resort are turning out to be equally difficult. US tribal gaming operator Hard Rock International announced last week, its plan to appeal its disqualification from bidding on the single casino license at the proposed Hellinikon project being built on the site of Athens’ old airport.