OPAP to appeal fine from Greek gambling regulator

OPAP previously had a monopoly on the Greek market.
OPAP previously had a monopoly on the Greek market.

The Hellenic Gaming Commission has fined the gambling group €24.5m for abusing its position.

Greece.- OPAP says it will appeal against a €24.5m fine issued by the Hellenic Gaming Commission for breaches of Greek law. The regulator said OPAP had abused its strong position in the Greek gambling market.

The gambling regulator ruled that OPAP had breached Articles 1 and 2 of Law 3959/2011 on the protection of free competition. Article 1 prohibits the fixing of purchase prices, limits on investment opportunities or application of unfair conditions to transactions. Article 2 states that companies must not abuse a dominant market position and bans the imposition of unfair prices or limits on the distribution of technical equipment.

The regulator also said that OPAP had breached articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which outline similar requirements. It has ordered OPAP to halt all operations that breach the articles. It says it will impose a fine of €10,000 a day for continued breaches.

The sanction follows complaints from The Hellenic Cooperative of Professional Lotteries’​ Agents (SEPPP) and other unnamed agents. They argue that non-compete clauses included in OPAP’s 2017 Exclusivity Agency Agreement, together with the operator’s activities between 2017 and 2021, constituted breaches of Greek law. OPAP had a monopoly in the Greek market at the time.

OPAP argued that the regulator’s conclusion was inaccurate and based on services provided by its agencies and that the regulator did not consider Bank of Greece data.

It said: “The company respects the institutional role of independent administrative authorities, including the Hellenic Competition Commission. Yet, it strongly disagrees with the content of the decision, which it considers fully baseless. The decision, which was not unanimous, does not relate with the company’s core business in the gaming market, but has to do with bill payment services and mobile top-up services offered by its agencies.”

OPAP Q2 results

OPAP reported revenue of €345m for Q2. That’s an increase of 13 per cent year-on-year. EBITDA was up 7 per cent at €178m and net profit 35 per cent at €106m.

The Greek multichannel operator attributed the rise to both its online business and retail. Lottery revenue was up 8 per cent at €178m (€165m) and sports betting revenue 14 per cent at €152m. Online casino revenue rose most, climbing 38 per cent to €58m, scratch lottery rose 12 per cent to €30m and video lottery terminal (VLT) revenue climbed 9 per cent to €81m. For the first half of the year, GGR was up 14 per cent at €1bn.

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