OPAP’s profit severely affected by tax increase

The struggling Greek economy took a new victim.

The Greek betting operator’s profit dropped more than one-quarter due to retroactive increased taxation in Greece.

Greece.- Greek betting operator OPAP has reported that its profit fell more than one-quarter due to increased taxation.

An interim management statement released by the company showed that its gross gaming revenue fell 4.4 percent to €340.7 million (US$379.59 million) in 2016’s three first months ending March 31. Net gaming revenue dropped 2.5 percent to €153.8 million (US$171.36 million), but after applying the new 35 percent gaming tax retroactively to Jan. 1, net revenue was down 11.5 percent to €139.6 million (US$155.54 million). OPAP’s Stihima sports betting revenue fell 14.1 percent to €102.5 million (US$114.20 million). The fall was partially curbed by a 2.4 percent rise in lottery revenue to €201.1 million (US$224.06 million), whilst the Instant & Passive division was down 8.7 percent to €37.1 million (US$41.33 million).

Kamil Ziegler, OPAP’s Chairman and CEO outlined the “severe impact” of the new tax rate. However, the new regime is more benign than the government’s original plan to retain a five-eurocent tax on all of OPAP’s gambling products, which OPAP claimed would result in a significant reduction in punters’ desire to wager.

Now, whilst punters were spared the turnover tax, Ziegler noted that OPAP’s results were still depressed by “persisting pressure on disposable income and private consumption” as the Greek economy continues to flounder under the government’s austerity measures.

Ziegler will relinquish the CEO’s position and he will be replaced by former-Ladbrokes Damian Cope as soon as July 1. Ziegler will retain its chairman title.