After seeing an incredible 73.9% drop in profits earlier this year, Greek gambling monopoly OPAP is undergoing some more changes after the resignation of several members from their board. In yet another strange piece of Greek gambling news, Panagiotis Koliopanos, Epameinonda Lekea, Theofanis Moustakatou, Grigorios Felonis, Georgios Simeonidis, Despoina Laskaridou and Efthimia Halatsi all stepped down.
With Greek gambling laws something of a shambles recently, this latest change probably comes as no surprise to anyone within the industry. The EU has been pushing the authorities to break up the monopoly enjoyed by OPAP for years, but remains toothless to do anything, for fear of tipping the country’s precarious finances over the edge again.
The new members of the board at OPAP will be announced at their shareholder’s general meeting, but the names have been released anyway. Kamil Ziegler will become chairman and chief executive officer, with Spyros Fokas and Pavel Horak becoming vice-chairmen. Michal Houst will become an executive member, while Georgios Melisandis, Christos Kopezoulos, Pavel Saroch, Konstantin Yanakov and Marco Sala taking on non-executive roles.
With OPAP also holding a monopoly over online casinos in Greece, it seems as if the Greek populace are shying away from gambling somewhat. Perhaps this news isn’t surprising considering the struggles many individuals face in a country with unemployment topping 26%, with even higher figures for youth unemployment in the country probably most affected by the economic crisis.
The change in the makeup of the OPAP board also mirrors the change in ownership of the company, after the Greek government’s Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund (HRADF) sold it’s 33% stake to Czech company Emma Delta. Whether this move will see any change in fortunes for the only licensed operator in the Mediterranean county remains to be seen, however.