The Greek state gambling monopoly OPAP's involvement of local police to shut down gambling group Stanleybet International's new Greek retail betting shops late last year has seen a sequel this week. The UK-based betting company reports that following its petitioning of the European Parliament on the issue, in which Stanleybet personnel were arrested, the European Commission has been asked to investigate.
The Stanleybet view is that OPAP’s practices run counter to Article 49 of the European Commission Treaty, which guarantees member-state companies the right to provide cross-border services. The company said in a statement earlier this year that it had taken legal action, after securing the reopening of its shops and the release of its personnel.
"We are determined to defend the creation of a regulated, fair and competitive sports-betting market in Greece," Stanleybet International spokesman Constantinos Maragakis said at the time.
In a statement this week, Stanleybet revealed that in January 2009 it had initiated a petition to the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions in which it detailed and complained about the events in Greece and the impact these had on both the company and its employees.
John Whittaker, Stanlelybet's chief executive, commented: "The Greek authorities' behaviour is clearly outrageous, and I am pleased that the European Parliament has decided to investigate. This behavior is all the more unacceptable and unfair given that OPAP, a private Greek company listed in the Athens Stock Exchange which abusively holds an exclusive right to offer sports betting services in Greece, has increased its own activity across state borders."