Greek law enforcement officials have reported that the countries gambling monopoly holder, OPAP, is being used extensively by international cocaine dealers to launder their drug money. In a major Greek gambling news story, a report found that a multinational gang who smuggled 146 kilograms of cocaine into Greece had been betting, and winning, extensively at OPAP outlets.
Indeed, the police described some of the gang members as enjoying “outrageous favor of fortune” when it came to picking winning bets at OPAP offices around the country. Yet this was not because of any unnatural luck, instead the gang tracked down the owners of winning betting slips, and bought the slips at a premium.
Due to Greek gambling laws, the OPAP still has a monopoly over gambling in the country. This is despite strong EU opposition to the laws, with calls for tough action against the government. Due to the country’s financial situation, however, any action has been held off, for now at least.
The scam isn’t the first of its kind in Greece, however, as it is the exact same method used by jailed cocaine trafficker Alexandros Angelopoulos, who was sentenced to life in prison back in 2005. Perhaps if Greek bettors were able to take advantage of mobile betting, this wouldn’t happen.
While a number of gambling monopolies still exist throughout the EU, this number is decreasing year on year, as the union outlines new gambling “suggestions”. As such, many countries have changed their laws, with Serbia, Slovenia, and many more countries in the East of Europe moving to a more open market after pressure from the EU.
With the region seen as an area of potential growth, especially in mobile casinos, companies are looking to take advantage of these newly regulated markets before they become too saturated. Any more bad stories from OPAP, and Greece may well join the list before too long.