03/22/2012 : Greek gambling firm's woes continue
 
Partially state-owned Greek gambling firm OPAP turned in disappointing quarterly figures reporting a 21 percent drop in its quarterly profit which was attributed to less gambling due to austerity measures instituted in the debt-laden country which have led to wage cuts and tax hikes.
 
The gambling firm will utilise retained funds, after announcing its biggest dividend cut in the past decade, to further its expansion into video lottery and online gambling.
 
Greece's privatisation agency the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund confirmed that the Greek Government, who owns a 34 percent stake in OPAP, will put a 29 percent stake out for tender by early May, the completion of which will be concluded this year.
 
Reuters reports that the gambling firm's fourth quarter net profit dropped to Euro 128.3 million (Euro 169.2 million).  Its two most popular games Kino lottery was down 8.2 percent and Stihima sports betting – down 14.6 percent with overall sales dropping 7.9 percent to Euro 1.16 billion.
 
"In 2012 our major objectives are to implement the VLT strategy and to prepare OPAP's participation in the online market following the appropriate regulatory steps," said chief executive officer Yannis Spanoudakis.  "We strongly believe that OPAP will harvest the benefits of these major investments."