Thursday March 21,2013 : OPAP'S LATEST MONOPOLISTIC MOVE WILL NOT BE POPULAR WITH THE ONLINE GAMBLING INDUSTRY
Greek betting monopoly wants to keep the domestic market entirely to itself until 2020
The Greek gambling monopoly OPAP, in which the cash-strapped government has a significant interest and intends to privatise, was the subject of a new proposal for the European Commission's consideration by government's Gaming Monitoring Committee on Wednesday, according to a report in the online newspaper ekathimerini.com.
The reaction of the Commission, as well as that of the European online gambling industry, should be interesting because the proposal provides for a near-absolute monopoly in the industry for OPAP until 2020, and provides for the abolition of games of chance on the Internet in their current form and for the concession of the monopoly on sports betting to OPAP.
Internet gaming will only be allowed in Greece in the form of online casinos and only as live games, such as poker, without the generation of random numbers, as in lotteries.
Sports betting (with the exception of horse racing) and a series of games based on random numbers will be exclusively overseen by OPAP for the next seven years if the measure is approved.
The trade body Remote Gaming Association, which represents most of the top European online gambling operators, has repeatedly complained to the European Commission regarding the monopolistic nature of OPAP
The Gaming Monitoring Committee plan will remain up for public consultation for four months and then be passed into law.