OPAP To Contest Withdrawal Of It’s Sports Betting License

Greek lottery and gaming provider OPAP has laid out plans to contest the judgement of the Greek Council of State to withdraw its internet sports betting license.

The Greek Council of State, the highest administrative court of the country, endorsed the request by Austrian airline Goalbet of the ruling of the Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP) to grant OPAP an online betting license for its brand Pame Stoixima.

The ruling was taken in July, but details only surfaced after incidents in the Greek press during the last week.

OPAP said that it is now in the phase of “evaluating how to pursue the protection of its interests by all legal means.”

The operator stated that the decision contrasted all prior actions by the Greek State, including information given to investors in the process of selling off the country’s OPAP stake. At the time, potential investors were told that they were licensed to offer fixed-odd betting until 2020.

“Despite the fact that the current contribution of online betting is not material and in any case below 1% of OPAP Group’s total revenue, OPAP, following this decision, is already in contact with competent bodies including the EEEP for all the appropriate actions to be taken,” it said.

Upon presenting its judgement, the court stated that if OPAP wants to re-enter the internet sports betting industry, it must re-enter the industry under the country’s permit requirements.

The income from OPAP’s sports betting arises mainly from its retail activity. For the six months to 30 June 2019, sports betting revenue decreased by 5.2 per cent to € 191.9 m (£ 169.8m/$211.1 m), with Pame Stoixima’s contribution defined as flat year-on-year and not disbursed.

Earlier this week, the operator said that most of its online activities were carried out through the Stoiximan Group, in which it holds a controlling interest.