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
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
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
"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
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