Law 3037/2002

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In 2002 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 in public places. 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 passed on 29 July, 2002 to take effect with its publication in the Government Gazette, pursuant to the enabling article.[1]

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.[2] 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 cafés and computer software which deletes or encrypts files on hard disks of computers owned by Internet cafés.

Related events[edit]

On January 14, 2004, 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. [3]

On February 10, 2005 the European Commission referred Greece to the European Court of Justice over its ban on electronic games.[4]

The legislation was written in a way that kept software engineers and various computer developers within the law's constraints. In this way the ban has caused some controversy with regards to several companies hoping to remove it. The law has been suspended.


  1. ^ N. 3037 Art. 12 (1) Απαγόρευση παιγνίων [ Prohibition of Games] of 2002-07-29
  2. ^ Loney, Matt (2002-10-11). "Greek game ban overturned". ZDNet. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  3. ^ "Κατά των Internet cafe στρέφεται και πάλι η αστυνομία". 
  4. ^

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