Wednesday April 23 ,2014 : GREEK GOVERNMENT CHANGING TACK ON SPORTS BETTING MONOPOLY?
OPAP's exclusive deal could be in trouble.
With the European Commission breathing down the Greek government's neck, the Emma Delta-owned Greek gambling group OPAP could find its sweet monopolistic online sports betting deal somewhat diluted.
Reports from Athens indicate that just before the Easter break the government introduced amendments to its gambling law in a bid to stave off Commission action.
The amendments, which have been submitted to parliament by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, include permission for payment processing companies based in the European Union to operate in the Greek market, lifting previous nationalistic restrictions.
They have also resulted in the apparent deletion of references to OPAP's exclusive arrangement on internet and mobile sports betting after the betting company appeared to have been given an exclusive deal (see previous InfoPowa reports).
That, and the government's attempt to cancel online gambling transitional licenses to 24 of the major companies in online gambling, provoked a storm of protest which the amendments may now have mitigated.
Observers have noted that, whilst the current issue is focused on sports betting, it is being assumed that the changes being made will also apply to online casino and poker activity, heading off any monopolistic attempts in that direction as well.
For now at least, it’s business as usual for the big operators who have obtained .gr licensing, as the political and legislative moves unfold.