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Greece Demands €200M from Online Gambling Firm

The Greek tax authorities have hit U.K.-listed online gambling operator GVC Holdings with a hefty back-tax demand of close to €200 million ($249 million).

On Thursday, GVC announced it had received a tax audit assessment from the Greek Audit Center for Large Enterprises, demanding €186.77 million in back taxes to cover a GVC subsidiary’s activity in the Greek market for 2010 and 2011.

The subsidiary in question was owned during the period by Sportingbet, whose operations GVC acquired in 2013.

GVC says the nine-figure demand is “substantially higher by multiples of the total Greek revenues generated” by Sportingbet during the period in question.

It also disputed the Greek taxman’s methodology for arriving at this “widely exaggerated” figure, while noting that “multiple other online gaming operators” had been subjected to similar demands.

“This is a spurious and opportunistic claim made on the background of a Greek government desperate to pay its debts to the IMF,” a person close to the company’s leadership was quoted as saying by the U.K.’s Financial Times.

Industry newspaper, calvinayre.com, reported that the company’s legal team has advised challenging the tax demand in the Greek courts, because there is no formal settlement mechanism for resolving such differences.