Greece’s gambling monopoly owned by OPAP SA is unlawful, the European Union’s highest court said in a case brought by Stanleybet International Ltd., William Hill Plc (WMH) and Sportingbet Plc.
EU law prohibits national rules that grant exclusive rights to a single entity without serving the public interest in reducing the number of betting opportunities, the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled today. OPAP shares fell 9.6 percent in Athens after the ruling.
The EU’s top court has examined a series of cases brought by betting companies including Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc, Ladbrokes Plc and Betfair Ltd. over whether state monopolies may block them from operating freely across the 27- nation bloc. Online companies have also called on the EU to take action against what they say are unjustified national restrictions on cross-border Internet gambling. [Bloomberg]