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Greece declares game over

Govt makes gaming punishable with fines or even prison spell

Tourists planning to visit Greece this summer would be well advised to leave their mobile phones and GameBoy consoles at home now that a law banning electronic gaming has been passed by the Greek government.

The controversial law, number 3037, forbids 'electronic gaming with electronic mechanisms' from public and, unbelievably, private places.

Huge fines are in place for those people caught playing games, even on their mobile phone handsets, and all owners of electronic games.

The reason given for the introduction of the law is that Greek authorities found it impossible to police the content of games.
"The prohibition of electronic games is necessary, given the fact that it's impossible to check up on [the content of the games] practically," said State Economy Secretary Apostolos Fotiadis.
But the law seems just as impossible to police as game content, and it would also require every Greek citizen to throw away mobile handsets, games consoles and all games.

No one at the Greek Embassy in London was available to comment today and would only warn travellers not to take games into the country.

The current fine for being found in possession of electronic games is between €5,000 (£3,000) and €75,000 (£45,000) with a possible further punishment of 12 months imprisonment.

Several protest sites have been set up by games companies and gamers, including www.gameland.gr and www.petitiononline.com, which are appalled at the decision. They intend to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights.

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