ECONOMY

Gov’t betting on an OPAP monopoly until 2020

The new set of rules regarding games of chance in Greece, which the government’s Gaming Monitoring Committee sent to the European Commission on Wednesday, provides for a near-absolute monopoly in the industry for state-run OPAP until 2020.

The set of measures being put to consultation on the European level provides for the abolition of games of chance on the Internet in their current form and for the concession of the monopoly of sports betting to OPAP.

Internet gaming will only be allowed in Greece in the form of online casinos and only as live games, such as poker, without the generation of random numbers, as in lotteries. Therefore sports betting (with the exception of horse racing) and a series of other games based on random numbers will be exclusively overseen by OPAP for the next seven years.

The plan will remain up for public consultation for four months and then be passed into law. Greece holds a 34 percent stake in OPAP and intends to complete the sale of 33 percent of the monopolistic gaming company by this spring in order to collect much-needed revenues for its fiscal streamlining program.