A new bill tabled in the Greek parliament on Monday could allow casinos to lend money to reliable customers to gamble.

In an omnibus bill being voted on Monday amid strikes and protests, there is a provision which will enable casinos to lend over 50,000 euros to select customers to continue playing if they need to, a Greek finance ministry source said.

This new law is aimed at foreign customers, to facilitate more spending in Greek casinos. The idea behind the bill is that studies show many gamblers decide on the place where they will spend their holidays on the presence of casinos where lines of credit are available.

These loans will not involve cash but special chips to be used exclusively inside a particular casino. To convert these special chips into money, any casino loan must have been repaid in full.

Chips will be counted as casino revenue, meaning gambling loans will be taxed, the finance ministry source added.

Plans to expand the availability of gambling in Greece have met opposition, with the local authorities in the Greek islands of Santorini and Crete recently hitting out at government plans to allow casinos to open on the popular tourist destinations.

Media reports from Crete say that local councils in the island are also preparing to launch a campaign against the casinos.

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