ECONOMY

Gaming bill strengthens OPAP’s future

The government is planning to table an amendment in Parliament that will introduce stiffer penalties for anyone offering games of chance in Greece other than the OPAP gaming firm, abolish temporary licenses conceded to 24 providers at the end of 2011, and strengthen the powers of the market’s watchdog, the Gaming Commission.

The amendment confirms the government’s intention to protect the exclusive rights that OPAP enjoys in conventional and electronic games of chance ahead of the concession of its management and a 33 percent stake to Greek-Czech fund Emma Delta.

The amendment increases the maximum number of video lotto terminals (VLTs) that each OPAP mini-casino can have from 25 to 50. Crucially, it makes the Gaming Commission the only authority with the power to issue and concede licenses for games of chance in Greece. This will include TV channels or telecommunication providers that already offer various games of chance or games combining chance with knowledge. The watchdog will also be responsible for the concession of licenses for Internet betting from October 2020, when OPAP’s exclusive right expires.