State agency OPAP is granted monopoly for internet betting in Greece until 2030 from the European Commission.
For exclusive betting rights in Greece, OPAP is to pay what is described as an “adequate fee” of up to 5 percent on gross revenues from its 35,000 video lottery terminals.
A few days ago, the Remote Gambling Association filed three outstanding complaints to the European Commission about the OPAP Greek internet casino monopoly.
RGA stated: “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.”
The European Union granted the government agency OPAP its regulatory approval stating that the monopoly complies with EU state aid rules and Greek gambling laws.
Banking expert Analyst Paris Mantzavras described the decision saying: “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, William Hill and Sportingbet Plc.”
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia released a statement saying: “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 privatization of the gambling operator.”
This is surely not the last step is the OPAP saga. The Greek government decided to privatize its 33 percent share in the state-run company after the country faced series of economic troubles. There were also rumors of ending OPAP monopolies in different gambling fields, but now it seems the state wants to protect its business. A long legal battle is to be fought in European courts.