ECONOMY

OPAP seeks growth with 2 new games

OPAP, the lottery and games operator, yesterday unveiled two new betting games as it seeks to boost revenues to offset an expected slowdown in earnings from fixed-odds betting game Stoichima in the last quarter of the year. Konstantinos Koskinos, chief executive, said the two new games, Extra 5 and Super 3, represent a new generation of betting games that should increase revenues and profits for the company. Nine-month results announced early this month showed that fixed-odds betting game Stoichima continued to be the engine of growth for OPAP. Provisional figures for October, however, indicated revenues barely crept up from last year’s figures, due in part to the low number of championship games held in that month. Stoichima accounted for 73 percent of sales and 57 percent of gross profits in 2001. The new games come as the current range of products such as Joker, Propo and Lotto appear to be coming to the end of their life cycles. Lotto and Propo are expected to see negative growth next year. Dimitris Nikolos, head of research at Kapa Securities, said OPAP’s decision to broaden its product range was a positive move, but added the new betting games are not expected to be a major revenue-booster. «The new games should sustain players’ interest, but they won’t have a dramatic impact on results as they target the same groups as existing numerical games. There’s the risk they could cannibalize revenues from these games,» he said. Nikolos said Kino, scheduled to be launched next year, could turn out to be the giant-killer that OPAP is looking for. «By targeting different target groups and broadening the distribution network, Kino could become a significant revenue-earner next year,» he said. By expanding the distribution network to restaurants and coffee shops and making available real-time updates of draws, Kinos could take take away market share from casinos and illegal gambling. OPAP shares fell by 0.82 percent yesterday to close at 9.62 euros. Since the beginning of the year, the equity has outperformed the benchmark index, gaining 30 percent against a similar drop in the general index. OPAP has a 78 percent share of the legal Greek lotteries and sports betting market and a 20-year exclusive license for the existing games and future sports betting games.