The Greek gaming company OPAP lost its online sports betting licence but is ready to appeal the Council of State’s decision.
Greece.- OPAP received last week a notice that its online sports betting licence would be cancelled. The decision came from the Council of State after Goalbet argued that OPAP was never licenced to offer online gambling services. Now, OPAP says that it is ready to appeal the decision.
The Council said that OPAP should have followed the licensing procedure that the other 24 legitimate online betting companies were subject to. Thus, it said that OPAP’s licence does not apply to online gambling and therefore its cancellation was necessary.
OPAP issued a statement this week saying that it received the decision by the Council accepting an Annulment Application against the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC).
The third-largest operator in Europe claims that the decision is in direct contract to a series of past actions by the Greek State. These include the official information provided to all candidate investors participating in the privatisation process of OPAP about the licence and the company’s legal rights to offer online fixed-odds 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 (GGR), OPAP, following this decision, is already in contact with competent bodies including the HGC for all the appropriate actions to be taken. The company is also evaluating how to pursue the protection of its interests by all legal means,” said OPAP.
The court’s word
When announcing the decision, the country’s highest administrative court said: “Gambling companies that followed the legal procedures to comply with laws and therefore provide legal online gambling and gambling services, have recourse to the competent courts seeking damages.” The Council of State says that OPAP must re-enter the market on equal terms.