Greece Names New Leaders of Gambling Monopoly OPAP

Published Monday, January 04, 2010 - Online-Casinos.com

Reuters has reported that the Greek government has named Yannis Spanoudakis, a former senior 2004 Athens Olympics organiser, as the new chief executive officer of Europe’s biggest betting company OPAP a monopoly, and public entity since the year 2000. OPAP was established in 1958 and the company does huge business with an operating income of €959.9 million in 2008, turning a nice profit of €728.5 million while employing well over 800 people.

“The Greek state proposes Yannis Spanoudakis as new CEO and Haris Stamatopoulos as new Chairman,” OPAP’s outgoing CEO Christos Hadjiemmanouil said at a general shareholders meeting held to approve the appointments. All of the appointments were approved by the current board. Stamatopoulos is a former chief of the Athens International Airport. The Greek government is OPAP’s largest shareholder, with a 34 percent stake, and that Hadjiemmanouil and other board members had offered their resignations after the new Socialist government came to power in the October 4th national elections.

Online betting is still illegal in Greece and is facing stiff competition from international operators. In a recent case involving the monopoly in November 2008, the government of Greece shut down Liverpool-based Stanleybet. Stanleybet had recently opened two offices in Greece and was to be a major competitor to OPAP. OPAP has a state monopoly on sports betting and lotteries until 2020 and is trying hard to maintain it's hold on it's gambling industry. This move has the European Commission looking closely at the country's policies regarding free trade on the internet. There is much concern over the impact of new gaming taxes imposed on the company as the Greek government struggles to balance its books. A controversial 10 percent personal lottery tax on punters has been suspended until April 30. 2010. More punters feel that competition is a good thing offering better odds and better payouts not to mention more choice.

 

 

 

 

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