Greek gambling monopoly OPAP has announced the latest in a string of bad news stories to come out of the Greek market. Blaming the ongoing recession in Greece, as well as changes to Greek gambling laws and tax hikes, the company has posted yet another drop in their profits, this time of 61% year on year.
The news of this latest profit drop for the Greek internet casino operator comes after they were bought by Czech-Greek fund Emma Delta. The profit drop, however large, was not quite as bad as analysts expected, though, as they had forecast profits of EUR 37.2 million – the company posted EUR 44.4 million.
The main reason for this was laid at the feet of the new 30% gross gaming revenue tax Greece has introduced, something born out by an increase in sales. Indeed, year on year revenue increased by 0.7%, to EUR 897.6 million, fuelling talk that the operator could be about to start rising again.
Despite mobile casinos starting to take over across Europe, OPAP was also counting on land based video lottery terminals to boost profits further. The roll out of these machines has been delayed, however, after negotiations for the Emma Delta takeover proved more complicated than expected.
OPAP Chief Executive Kamil Ziegler said: “Obviously any previously created roll-out timeframes are outdated and they should be amended. We are now targeting roll-out of the first machines in the third quarter of next year, while also assessing all the business parameters in order to be able to benefit from what we consider as the most significant opportunity in this market.”
The profit nosedive, however, is smaller than the massive hit the firm took in the first half of 2013, when their profits fell by an incredible 73.9% year on year. As such, the takeover by Emma Delta has had at least some success.