Gambling in Greece is an important sector for the country’s economy today, and it has a very long history. While online gambling in Greece has, like in so many European Union countries, stagnated with the government being pushed to review its policies, land-based gambling is alive and well.
While you’re better off looking at the Games Page on the Gaming Club website if you want to play online, Greece is perfect for brick-and-mortar games. In fact, there has been a significant increase in the size, activity and amount of casinos in Greece over the past 10 years.
A Very Long History
The Ancient Greeks recognised the seductive pull that gambling can have, and wrote about it in their mythology and records of real-life events. The famous story of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon deciding who would rule the earth, the sea and the underworld is a powerful example of this. Following their victory over the Titans, the 3 brothers were said to have decided on their realms based on rolling some dice.
In the Odyssey, Homer writes of Palamedes offering to play dice as a way of entertaining the bored Greek soldiers who were waiting to take Troy. Plutarch, a Greek historian, also mentions that a Persian queen named Parisatis was very fond of rolling the dice. There were even special buildings designed and created for the purpose of gambling, and they can be considered the forerunners of modern-day casinos. Addictive gambling was considered just as much of a problem then as it is now, and the punishment for excessive activities was slavery, across all classes.
Origin of Greek Gambling
It should be pretty clear by now that dice are especially close to the hearts of Greek players, and always have been. This was played by many ancient cultures and their exact history in Greece is uncertain; some even claim that the game was invented in Greece itself.
Whatever their exact history, dice and playing cards seem to be the two oldest casino games in Greece and were probably the first amusements seen in the casino prototype buildings. There’s also a Greek myth on how these establishments came into being; Tyche, a goddess of fortune, was seduced by Zeus and gave birth to a daughter.
The child of Tyche and Zeus had a single interest: inventing games whose outcomes were based solely on luck, and watching the misery that this created among losing mortals. To indulge her cruel and spoilt daughter, Tyche gave her houses dedicated to the games she had dreamed up.
Greek Gambling Today
Card games are played today in Greek establishments that are not even considered casinos; these games are incredibly popular in Greek culture and playing them could even be considered a national pastime. The full suite of casino games and the overall casino game expereince is more popular with visitors than locals and is reserved for large resorts and hotels, modelled after the establishments in modern-day Las Vegas.
As Greek casinos try to entice tourists over the whole year and not just the popular summer months, they offer luxury rooms, activities and shows just as the top destinations in Vegas always have. The first casino in modern Greece opened its doors in the region of Loutraki in 1928, and today there are 9 such establishments dotted across the mainland and the islands of Corfu, Syros and Rhodes.
All the usual casino games are on offer, including Blackjack, Roulette, Poker, Craps and Slots, and most Greek casinos are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The dress code is smart-casual, so as long as you’re over 21 and not in your swimming gear you should be allowed to play!