the Greek government
, ostensibly in an attempt to fight illegal gambling
, passed the ambiguous and controversial law 3037/2002
which effectively banned all electronic games
, including those running on home computers
. The bill was formulated after a member of the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement
(PASOK) political party
was videotaped in an illegal gambling establishment, resulting in public hysteria
that was fueled by sensationalist
reporting in the press. The bill was declared a law on July 30
During a case against some Internet café owners who allowed their customers to play online chess and other games, a local court in Thessaloniki declared the law unconstitutional. More than 300 people were gathered outside the court in support of the Internet café owners.
The European Commission sent an official letter to the Greek Foreign Ministry explaining that the law may be in conflict with European legislation. In that case, the European Court of Justice could take action against Greece.
The law would affect both Greek citizens and foreigners.
On September 24, 2002, government officials published a document in an effort to clarify the controversial articles of the law.
After the European Union intervention and debates with the Internet café owners, the government passed a new decision (1107414/1491/T. & E. F.), published in the Government Gazette issue 1827, on December 8, 2003. The new law clarifies some articles of 3037/2002 but it still bans video games in Internet café, and computer software which delete or encrypt files on hard disks of computers owned by Internet café.
The law is currently suspended as unconstitutional; therefore, it is not being enforced.
On January 14
, the Greek police raided Internet cafes in Larissa
, as reported by Eleftherotypia
newspaper. Eighty computers were taken by the police as evidence, and three Internet cafe owners were arrested. See
On February 10, 2005 the European Commission referred Greece to the European Court of Justice over its ban on electronic games. See
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