In 1989 on September 7 – 8 a meeting of 16 gaming regulators from 6 European countries (Denmark, France, Great Britain, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) took place at Hotel Corona in The Hague (Netherlands). This meeting was an initiative of the Gaming Board for Great Britain and the former Board for Casino Games in the Netherlands. It was agreed that a European forum of gaming regulators was essential. The forum would be named the Gaming Regulators European Forum or GREF. Norman Ward-Jones, then Chairman of the Gaming Board for Great Britain, was elected to be the first Chairman of GREF. Peter Burleigh, then Secretary of the Gaming Board for Great Britain, and Bernard Polders, then Secretary of the former Board for Casino Games in the Netherlands, acted as Joint-Secretaries for this meeting.

In 1990 on April 5 – 6 the second meeting of GREF was held at Hotel Princesa Sofia in Barcelona (Spain). 28 representatives from 8 European countries attended this meeting. Austria and Ireland were welcomed as new participating countries to GREF. Bernard Polders and Santiago Mendioroz, then Secretary of the National Gaming Commission of Spain, acted as Joint-Secretaries for this meeting. Later that year, on September 20, an informal gathering of GREF participants was arranged in Vienna (Austria) at the City Club Hotel, concurrent with a meeting of the International Association of Gaming Attorneys (IAGA). As of this informal gathering no notes exist, the number of representatives and participating countries is not known.

In 1991 two formal GREF meetings were held. For both meetings Bernard Polders and Peter Burleigh acted as Joint-Secretaries. One was held on February 21 – 22 at Hotel Estoril Sol in Estoril (Portugal). At this meeting, where 30 participants from 8 European countries were present, a formal constitution of GREF was adopted and a Subgroup on Gaming Machines was established. Greece attended a GREF meeting for the first time. The other meeting – a special one day meeting on European developments – took place on October 29 in Brussels (Belgium), at the Galilei Building of the Belgian Ministry of Finance. This was the first time that Belgian representatives attended a GREF meeting. At this meeting 25 participants from 8 European countries were present. A few weeks after the meeting Peter Burleigh would retire and his successor as Secretary of the Gaming Board for Great Britain, Tom Kavanagh, would act for the coming meetings as Joint-Secretary of GREF.

 The Subgroup on Gaming Machines that was established at the Estoril meeting has held 6 meetings between 1991 and 1994. These meetings took place in London (United Kingdom) on September 11, 1991, Barcelona (Spain) on November 21-22, 1991, London (United Kingdom) on February 5-7, 1992, Divonne Les Bains (France) on June 21-22, 1992, Delft (Netherlands) on January 6-8, 1993, and Lisbon (Portugal) on April 7-8,1994.

In 1992, like in the previous year, two formal GREF meetings were held. One was held on February 27-28 at the Britannia Inter-Continental Hotel in London (United Kingdom). 29 participants from 10 European countries were present. Also a guest regulator from the USA attended the meeting. Germany was welcomed as a new participating country to GREF. At the end of the meeting Norman Ward-Jones formally handed over the Chairmanship of GREF to Hans Hoefnagels, then Chairman of the former Board for Casino Games in the Netherlands. The other meeting took place in Amsterdam (Netherlands) on September 16 at the SAS-Royal Hotel, concurrent with a meeting of IAGA. 19 participants from 8 European countries attended the meeting. Finland attended as a new participating country to GREF.

In 1993 the GREF meeting took place at the Ledra Marriott Hotel in Athens (Greece) on April 22 – 24. This was the first time that a social programme was included on Saturday. Also for the first time a registration fee per person attending the meeting had to be paid. It was decided that this method of financing GREF’s annual meeting should be continued. Antonio da Silva Ferreira, then head of the Inspectorate General on Gaming in Portugal, became the first Treasurer of GREF. The meeting was attended by 33 participants from 11 European countries. Hungary was welcomed as a new participating country to GREF.

 The annual meeting of GREF in 1994 was held at Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich (Germany) on 21 – 23 April. At this meeting 35 participants from 13 European countries were present. Poland and Switzerland attended a meeting of GREF for the first time. At the end of the meeting is was agreed that after next year’s meeting Antonio da Silva Ferreira should be the next Chairman of GREF.

In 1995 the meeting was held at Hotel Estoril Sol in Cascais / Lisbon (Portugal) on April 20 – 22. This time 47 participants from 15 European countries attended the meeting and representatives of Estonia, Norway and Sweden were welcomed as new participants to GREF. At the end of the meeting, Hans Hoefnagels formally handed over the Chairmanship of GREF to Antonio da Silva Ferreira. Robert Dechelle, Superintendent of Police at the French Ministry of the Interior, took over the function of Treasurer of GREF.

In 1996 GREF’s annual meeting was held at the Marriott Hotel in Budapest (Hungary) on June 6 – 8. The meeting was attended by 32 regulators from 15 European countries. Also two regulators from New Zealand attended the meeting as special guests. Shortly before the meeting, Antonio da Silva Ferreira had resigned as Head of the Portuguese Inspectorate General on Gaming. The meeting agreed to elect lady Shirley Littler, then Chairman of the Gaming Board for Great Britain, as the new Chairman of GREF. Also Bernard Polders had resigned as a regulator. The meeting elected Robert Dechelle as Joint-Secretary and elected Jouni Laiho, Counsellor at the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, as the new Treasurer of GREF. Bernard Polders became a non-participating Administrator of GREF.

At the Budapest meeting it was agreed to establish a Working Party on Internet Gaming. The Working Party on Internet Gaming has held 3 meetings between 1996 and 1998. These meetings took place in London (United Kingdom) on October 31, 1996, The Hague (Netherlands) on November 27-28, 1997 and London (United Kingdom) on January 28, 1998. The Working Party on Internet Gaming prepared a draft Position Statement on Gambling on the Internet, which was adopted at the formal GREF meeting in 1998 in Helsinki. The Working Party on Internet Gaming has resumed its task at a meeting in Warsaw (Poland) on September 22, 2000, concurrent with a conference of the European Association for the Study of Gambling.

 In 1997 on May 21 – 25 the meeting of GREF took place at Hotel Maria Christina in Donostia / San Sebastian (Spain). 44 representatives from 16 European countries attended the GREF meeting. New participants to GREF were welcomed from Albania and from Slovenia. For the first time a GREF meeting was organised with a programme expanding 5 days.

In 1998 the annual GREF meeting was held at Hotel Kalastajatorppa in Helsinki (Finland) on May 13 – 17. At this meeting 44 regulators from 15 European countries were present. Also two regulators from South Africa attended the meeting as special guests. At the end of the meeting, Jouni Laiho was elected as the new Chairman of GREF in succession of lady Shirley Littler. Lars Lundholm, Legal Advisor of the National Gaming Board of Sweden was elected as the new Treasurer of GREF. After the Helsinki meeting Eric van Vondelen, Secretary of the Netherlands Gaming Control Board, took over the function of Administrator of GREF from Bernard Polders.

The celebration of the 10th anniversary of GREF took place at the Kurhaus Hotel in The Hague (Netherlands) on June 3 – 6, 1999. At this meeting 45 regulators from 15 European countries were present. Participants from Malta, Latvia and Romania attended a meeting of GREF for the first time. At this meeting, an amended constitution of GREF was adopted. Also an Executive Board of GREF was established. Jouni Laiho (Chairman), Tom Kavanagh (Secretary), Lars Lundholm (Treasurer) and Eric van Vondelen (Administrator) retained their functions. Newly elected as members of the Executive Board were: Srecko Kuncic (State Office for Gaming Supervision, Slovenia), Rafael Ramos Gil, (National Gaming Commission, Spain), Jorge Rodrigues (Inspectorate General on Gaming, Portugal) and Maria Szabolcs (Gaming Board, Hungary).

The first meeting of GREF in the new millennium took place at the Grand Hotel Union in Ljubljana (Slovenia) on May 11 – 14, 2000. At this meeting 52 regulators from 20 European countries were present. For the first time more than 50 participants attended a meeting of GREF. New participants to GREF came from Croatia and Israel. Also two regulators from Australia and the USA attended the meeting as special guests. The vacancy in the Executive Board of GREF due to the de facto resignation of Maria Szabolcs (Gaming Board, Hungary) was followed by the election of Christian Hess (Federal Gaming Board, Switzerland) as a new member of the Executive Board of GREF.

The annual meeting of GREF in 2001 was held at the Radisson SAS Royal Viking Hotel in Stockholm (Sweden) on 24 – 27 May. The business meeting took place on Friday 25 May at the Norra Latin conference venue. This meeting was attended by 61 participants from 18 European countries. Iceland was welcomed as a new participating country to GREF. Also a regulator from Australia attended the meeting as an observer. This year, the biannual election of the Executive Board of GREF took place. The Forum elected Lars Lundholm (National Gaming Board, Sweden) as the new Chairman of GREF in succession of Jouni Laiho, who was honoured for his outstanding achievements as a chairman of GREF during the past three years. Other members of the Executive Board (re-)elected were Tom Kavanagh as Secretary (Gaming Board for Great Britain, United Kingdom), Tuula Sundström as Treasurer (Ministry of the Interior, Finland), Eric van Vondelen as Administrator (Gaming Control Board, Netherlands), Signe Birne (Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection, Latvia), Vincent Farrugia (Gaming Board, Malta), Srecko Kuncic (State Office for Gaming Supervision, Slovenia) and Jorge Rodrigues (Inspectorate General on Gaming, Portugal).

In 2002 the GREF meeting took place at the Hilton Hotel in St. Julian’s (Malta) on April 24 – 28. At this meeting 60 participants were present from 19 European countries. Monaco and Lithuania were welcomed as new participating countries to GREF. Also 4 regulators from New Zealand and South Africa attended the meeting as observers. Under the chairmanship of Lars Lundholm (Sweden), major items on the agenda were gambling on the Internet, money laundering and European Union developments.

The annual meeting of GREF in 2003 was held at the Park Hotel Ridzene in Riga (Latvia) on 12 – 15 June. The business meeting took place on Friday 13 June at the Riga Conference Centre. This meeting was attended by 66 participants from 22 European countries. Italy was welcomed as a new participating country to GREF. This year, the biannual election of the Executive Board of GREF took place. The Forum re-elected Lars Lundholm (National Gaming Board, Sweden) as the Chairman of GREF. Other members of the Executive Board (re-)elected were Tom Kavanagh as Secretary (Gaming Board for Great Britain, United Kingdom), Anniken Støylen as Treasurer (National Gaming Authority, Norway), Eric van Vondelen as Administrator (Gaming Control Board, Netherlands), Signe Birne (Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection, Latvia), Antonio Guerrero Olea (National Gaming Commission, Spain), Marc Callu (National Gaming Commission, Belgium) and Andela Toth Sesar (Ministry of Finance, Croatia).

 In 2004 from 10 to 13 June the annual meeting of GREF took place in Oslo (Norway) at the Grand Hotel. At this meeting 74 participants were present from 23 European countries. Also a representative of the European Union attended the meeting. Under the chairmanship of Lars Lundholm (Sweden), major items on the agenda were the European Union developments regarding gambling. It was agreed that three working groups will be established. A Working Group on Technical Issues will monitor technological developments in the gaming business (machines, Internet, on line terminals, wireless applications, etc.) and may propose common standards on technical issues. A Working Group on Information and Statistics will develop and maintain a common reference framework for information sharing and statistics. A Working Group on Gambling Addiction will monitor and report on prevalence studies, preventive measures and treatment programmes. Gabriella Alemanno from the Italian Ministry of Finance (Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies) was elected as a new member in the Executive Board of GREF, replacing Antonio Guerrero Olea (National Gaming Commission, Spain).

 The annual meeting of GREF in 2005 was held at the Méridien Hotel in Brussels, Belgium, from 11 to 15 May. This meeting was attended by 80 participants from 23 European countries. Under the chairmanship of Lars Lundholm (Sweden), major items on the agenda were gambling addiction and the European Union developments regarding gambling. A presentation on gambling addiction was given by Serge Minet (Rodin Foundation). Presentations on the European Union developments regarding gambling were given by Bertil Cottier (Swiss Institute of Comparative Law), Philippe Vlaemminck (Vlaemminck Lawyers), Thibault Verbiest (ULYS Lawyers) and Tim Cullimore (Casinos Austria International, Brussels). It was decided to establish a fourth Working Group on Illegal Gambling, to monitor developments and to exchange information related to illegal gambling. This year, also the bi-annual election of the Executive Board of GREF took place. The Forum elected Tom Kavanagh (Gaming Board for Great Britain, United Kingdom) as the new Chairman of GREF. Other members of the Executive Board (re-)elected were Marc Callu (National Gaming Commission, Belgium) as Vice-Chairman, Anniken Støylen (National Gaming Authority, Norway) as Secretary, Signe Birne (Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection, Latvia) as Treasurer, Eric van Vondelen (Gaming Control Board, Netherlands) as Administrator, Gabriella Alemanno (Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies, Italy), Morten Rønde (National Gaming Authority, Denmark) and Andjela Toth Sesar (Ministry of Finance, Croatia).

 At its meeting in Rome, Italy, from 14 to 18 June 2006, in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 86 participants were present from 23 European countries. Bosnia Herzegovina and the Slovak Republic were welcomed as new participating countries to GREF. Also a representative of the European Union attended the meeting. Under the chairmanship of Mr. Tom Kavanagh (UK), major items on the agenda were gambling addiction and the European Union developments regarding gambling. A presentation on responsible gaming was given by Professor Cesare Guerreschi (Italian Society for Interventions on Compulsive Pathologies). Presentations on the European Union developments regarding gambling were given by Professor Peter Collins (Centre for the study of gambling at the University of Salford UK) and Mr. Jean Bergevin (European Commission).

At its meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 13 to 17 June 2007, 85 participants were present from 25 European countries (Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom). Under the chairmanship of Tom Kavanagh (UK), major item on the agenda was a European trade associations panel, discussing the European Union developments regarding gambling. Guest speakers were: Eduardo Antoja (Euromat), Rupert Hornig (European Lotteries) and Sigrid Ligné (European Gaming and Betting Association – EGBA). This year, the bi-annual election of the Executive Board of GREF also took place. The Forum re-elected Tom Kavanagh (United Kingdom) as the Chairman of GREF. Also the other members of the Executive Board were re-elected, Marc Callu (Belgium), Anniken Rygg (Norway), Signe Birne (Latvia), Eric van Vondelen (Netherlands), Gabriella Alemanno (Italy), Morten Rønde (Denmark) and Andjela Toth Sesar (Croatia).

At its meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 4 to 8 June 2008, 88 participants were present from 23 European countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom). Guest speakers were Mr. James Maida, President of Gaming Laboratories International, on technological developments, and Mr. Johan van Kastel, Director Security and Risk Control of Holland Casino, on anti money laundering. The Chairman of GREF, Mr. Tom Kavanagh, would retire soon from the Gambling Commission and he was honoured for his longstanding involvement with GREF, first as (joint) Secretary and later as Chairman. The forum elected Mrs. Signe Birne of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of Latvia as the new Chair of GREF. As also Mrs. Andjela Toth Sesar from Croatia would leave the Executive Board, there were 2 vacancies to be fulfilled. The Forum elected Mrs. Sören Meius from Estonia and Mr. Reto Brand from Switzerland as new members to the Executive Board. Mr. Morten Rønde from Denmark was elected as the new Treasurer of GREF. It was decided to establish a fourth working group on general policy principles.

At its meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, from 10 to 14 June 2009, 68 participants were present from 21 European countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom). Guest speakers were Mr. Andri Avila, CEO of the Olympic Entertainment Group, Mr. Mor Weizer, CEO of Playtech, and Mr. Ian Plumley, President & CEO of BlackEdge Technologies Inc. As the present Constitution of GREF had been amended for the last time in 1999, it was decided to review the Constitution and to update the Constitution on some provisions. It was decided to establish a new Working Group on E-Gambling Issues and to (re-)elect the co-chairs of the working groups. The forum re-elected Mrs. Signe Birne of the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of Latvia as the Chair of GREF. Other members (re-)elected were Mr. Morten Rønde from Denmark (Secretary), Mr. Reto Brand from Switzerland (Treasurer), Mr. Eric Van Vondelen from the Netherlands (Administrator), Mr. António Alegria (Portugal), Mr. Jason Lane (States of Jersey), Mrs. Sören Meius (Estonia) and Mrs. Vanya Voynova (Bulgaria).

The annual meeting of GREF in 2010 took place in the Hotel Bellevue Palace in Berne, Switzerland, from 2 to 6 June. 67 participants were present from 22 European countries, representing 26 jurisdictions: Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina (Republika Srpska), Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain (Basque country), Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom (Alderney, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Isle of Man and Jersey). Guest speakers were Mr. Martin Sychold of the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, Mr. Carsten Koerl, Chief Executive Officer, Sportradar AG and Mr. Detlev Zenglein, Head of Competition Analyses, Early Warning System, FIFA.