Greece Seeks To Restrict OPAP Growth

Published Monday, August 07, 2017 -
Greece Seeks To Restrict OPAP Growth

The international gambling industry has various jurisdictions that depend on revenue from the activity. Governments all over the world have for a long time been legislating changes to gambling laws to help facilitate stable economic growth from betting. Some have taken the time to observe the alarming trends that online gambling and excessive wagering can develop and have attempted to create more control and safeguards for the punter.

While this approach may appear to be working in some destinations there are other situations where the government realizes it may have gone too far in allowing some activities to be available.

One such situation that is an example is Greece which is allowing Europe’s fourth largest betting operator OPAP to introduce 35,000 video lottery terminals in the nation. OPAP said it will finish the installation of 16,500 terminals by May of 2018, while the suppliers IGT, Inspired Gaming, Scientific Games and Synot Group will provide the next 18,500 units.  

It was recently reported on the web site that the Finance Ministry has tabled a bill seeking to reduce that amount of VLTs to 25,000, so that there will be “a more effective supervision by the authorities” as well as giving citizens “smaller exposure to gambling.” The introduction and expansion of the gambling industry in Greece and Cyprus was started in January of 2017 and is still on track with 53 gaming halls opened as of June where a total of 1,355 machines were installed. OPAP offers sports betting and lottery products in as many as 5,750 retail outlets. OPAP is a virtual monopoly in Greece but it has had a difficult financial past with the Greek government, which raised OPAP’s tax obligation from 30 percent to 35 percent of gross gaming revenue.

The government has created a dilemma for OPAP which is forced to expand its offering and exposure while the authorities are trying to restrict it.

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