Tuesday March 31,2015 : CYPRUS BETTING FIRMS PROTEST O.P.A.P. MONOPOLY
CBCA formed with OPAP advantage the top agenda item.
Betting companies in Cyprus fed up with the advantages held by Greek-Czech gambling monopoly OPAP have formed an association with overturning the monopoly top of the agenda.
Early members of the new Cyprus Betting Companies Association include Bet on Alfa, Fair Champions Meridien, Cy Bet and Megabet Plus, reports the Cyprus Mail.
The companies are intent on ending OPAP's monopoly on lottery number games, claiming that the current system hurts competition and goes against EU fair trade practices.
CBCA chairman Akis Avraamides said at a press conference launching the new trade association that politicians are procrastinating on the issue and that OPAP’s status should have been abolished long ago.
“We demand an end to the monopoly and preferential treatment OPAP receives from the state. This is now a public company and it’s owned by Czechs,” Avraamides said, appealing to legislators for laws that ensure fair competition.
OPAP was sold in 2013 to the Czech-Greek consortium Emma Delta Hellenic Holding Limited.
Through a bilateral agreement signed by Cyprus and Greece, OPAP is the only company allowed to run lottery games on the island, and the betting companies argue that since the Greek state is no longer a shareholder, OPAP’s special status should be abolished.
“Betting companies invest millions, give large sums back to the state, pay taxes, open up job posts and much more,” said Avraamides, adding that opening up competition would attract many more investors, and would help eliminate illegal operators.