Greece: Announcement on Law 3037/2002
Recently the Greek Government gave notes on the interpretation of the Law No. 3037/2002 on "Games Prohibition". In summer of 2002 Law No. 3037/2002 was passed, banning all electronic (also including "electric" and "electro-mechanic") games in any public and even private location.
The law expressly allows the installation and operation of computers in public locations providing Internet services, but forbids playing any kind of games on these computers. For the legal operation of any such location a permit of the local municipal authority is required.
Any breach of the provisions of the law by owners or entrepreneurs of such locations is punished by imprisonment and fines of at least 25.000 and up to 75.000. The law immediately caused reaction, especially of the entrepreneurs providing Internet services and of course of all gamers and computer owners, who found themselves to be illegal when playing even the games distributed e.g. by computer system software or contained in mobile phones. It is still not clear whether the objective of the law was to forbid any electronic game, even the non-gambling ones, but the wording is to be understood in this broader sense. Therefore, the Parliament's Scientific Committee questioned the possibility to effectively apply the law before its passing.
As reactions - including parliamentary debates - grew and the first court decision held the law unconstitutional and therefore non-applicable (Thessaloniki Criminal Court - First Instance, decision not yet published), an announcement of the Ministry of Finance came to settle the situation. The announcement stated that the law's only objective was to stop illegal gambling and not to characterize as illegal the hardware or software used for gaming activities or the punishment of people playing games without any economic benefits. Thus, the announcement explicitly allows creating, importing and selling gaming hardware and software and clarifies that in locations used as domiciles games are allowed if no financial benefit occurs and that "there is no problem for any non-professional and for tourists who may play electronic or other games." Anyhow, the Ministerial announcement cannot abolish or modify the law, but it is clear that the Government's intention was to give guidelines to the competent authorities, in order to avoid criminal cases.
Maria Kostopoulou, Vasili Costopoulos & Associates, Athen
Diese Meldung wurde der Rubrik "EMR - die medienrechtliche Monatsschau" entnommen. Das Institut für Europäisches Medienrecht (EMR) berichtet monatlich über die jüngsten Entwicklungen im Bereich Medienrecht und -politik aus den europäischen Institutionen und den Staaten Europas. Im Mittelpunkt des Interesses stehen dabei Neuerungen für den Rundfunk und die neuen Medien, insbesondere mit Blick auf die europarechtlichen Bezüge. Die EMR-Monatsschau wird freundlicherweise unterstützt durch die Veröffentlichung "IRIS - Rechtliche Rundschau der Europäischen Audiovisuellen Informationsstelle". Nähere Informationen im Internet unter www.emr-sb.de oder über EMR, Nell-Breuning-Allee 6, 66115 Saarbrücken; E-Mail: .
MMR 2002, Heft 12, XXIV