Wednesday, October 3, 2012 : EU APPROVES OPAP EXCLUSIVE BETTING RIGHTS TO 2030
Greek gambling monopoly will pay an additional levy for the privilege
Greek gambling monopoly OPAP will pay an adequate fee for the privilege of retaining exclusive betting rights to the year 2030 in addition to an exclusive VLT licence following approval from the European Union Competition Commission reports Reuters.
The European Union reportedly granted OPAP regulatory approval saying the measures comply with EU state aid rules, a move that will undoubtedly draw fire from organisations such as the Remote Gaming Association who said this week "Under pressure from the European Commission, the Greek government has announced plans to rectify the preferential tax treatment that OPAP’s online gaming business would have enjoyed, but there are other major issues that have still to be resolved, not least the fact that the intention is still to let OPAP have a monopoly in the online sports betting market".
Analyst Paris Mantzavras at Pantelakis Securities said the decision would result in “no Internet betting licenses being awarded to third parties before 2020,” along with the added concern with regard to pending legal challenges at the European Union's highest court from Stanleybet International Ltd., William Hill Plc and Sportingbet Plc.
Joaquin Almunia the EU Competition Commissioner said in a statement: "Greece has cooperated fully with the Commission to ensure that OPAP will not benefit from any undue financial advantage through the prolongation of its exclusive rights and its license for video lottery terminals. This allows for a timely privatisation of the gambling operator."
OPAP will be subject to an additional levy of up to 5 percent on gross revenues generated by the 35 000 video lottery terminals, said the Commission.