September 04, 2002
The Greek government has banned all electronic games across the country, including those that run on home computers, on Game Boy-style portable consoles, and on mobile phones. Thousands of tourists in Greece are unknowingly facing heavy fines or long terms in prison for owning mobile phones or portable video games.
The law applies equally to visitors from abroad: "If you know these things are banned, you should not bring them in," said a commercial attaché at the Greek Embassy in London, who declined to give her name.
Internet cafes will be allowed to continue to operate, providing no games-playing takes place. If a customer is found to be running any sort of game, including online chess, the cafe owner will be fined and the place closed.
The Greek government introduced the law in an attempt to prevent illegal gambling. According to a report in the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, Greek police will be responsible for catching offenders, who will face fines of 5,000 to 75,000 euros (about $4,980 to $74,650) and imprisonment of one to 12 months. "The blanket ban was decided in February after the government admitted it was incapable of distinguishing innocuous video games from illegal gambling machines," the report said.
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