Horse race betting hurdle removed for OPAP

By Vangelis Mandravelis

The new tender for the concession of the right to organize and operate wagering on horse races in Greece for the next 20 years will include a number of changes in its terms, despite assurances to the contrary by state sell-off fund TAIPED. It follows a failed tender that drew only one bid, from Intralot, which did not meet TAIPED’s pecuniary requirements.

The new invitation for expressions of interest issued by the fund late last week features several changes in its terms, the main one being the exclusion of the requirement for bidders to have experience in horse race betting.

This change is seen as creating a window for the country’s main betting company, OPAP, to submit a bid for the 20-year license in association with Global Family Partners (GFP), given that neither has any such experience. However this is also set to raise a storm among the country’s horse race entities, which are expected to protest that racing in this country will lose its Greek character, given that local races will likely be combined in betting slips with foreign events. State horse racing organization ODIE already allows punters to bet on French racing on days when there is no action in Greece.