OPAP-led company signs lotteries deal

The contract for the operation of Greece’s state lotteries for the next 12 years was finally signed on Tuesday by the state privatization fund (TAIPED) and the winning consortium Hellenic Lotteries SA, which will boost state revenues with a lump sum of 190 million euros plus another 580 million over the next 12 years. These amounts are guaranteed, TAIPED stated. The signing of the contract also paves the way for the completion of gaming firm OPAP’s privatization.

Hellenic Lotteries, 67 percent-owned by OPAP Investments, will have to pay 38 million euros (a quarter of the deposit) in the next five days, with the remaining 142 million euros to be paid in the next six months, provided the country’s Competition Commission has issued its approval and Parliament has ratified the contract.

The 580 million will be paid in 50-million-euro annual installments, apart from in the first year, when only 30 million euros will be paid. These installments could grow by an amount corresponding to 30 percent of the tax on the company’s gross profits but can in no way be below 50 million euros per year as this is the amount the holder of the license has guaranteed. It is believed that the state revenues will be more than 50 million euros every year.

Nevertheless the signing of the concession contract was not without surprises as three members of the Hellenic Lotteries board refused to vote for the procurement contracts that preceded the concession agreement. All three had been appointed to the board of the lotteries company by OPAP.

On Tuesday it was revealed that an OPAP board member resigned his post. He was asked to sign the procurement contracts and to manage the finances of the lotteries project. He turned the offer down and sent a letter of resignation to the head of OPAP, Costas Louropoulos, on Sunday.

Emma Delta, the consortium that will buy the controlling stake of 33 percent in OPAP in the coming weeks, has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the procurement contracts that favor the minor stakeholders of Hellenic Lotteries, Intralot and Scientific Games.

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