OPAP, Intralot bid for Greek horse race betting licence

Greece’s privatization agency has received two binding bids for the country’s horse race betting licence after scrapping a previous tender last month due to a lack of sufficient interest.

The HDRAF agency said on Friday Greek betting firm OPAP and gaming systems supplier Intralot had submitted bids for a 20-year licence to take wagers on horse races.

The sale is part of a privatization plan agreed with Athens’ international lenders, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, under a 240 billion euro ($316 billion) bailout.

HDRAF said its board would convene on Sept. 23 to decide on the validity of the offers and the recommendation of the agency’s financial advisers.

The privatization agency scrapped the tender last month after getting just one offer from Intralot that was deemed unsatisfactory.

Horse race betting is currently run by a group called ODIE, which made a net loss of 23.4 million euros in 2012.

Greece has repeatedly missed privatization targets due to a lack of investor appetite and regulatory snags. It wants to raise 22 billion euros by 2020 and is aiming for 1.5 billion from state divestments this year, down from an initial target of 3.6 billion euros.

OPAP, one of Europe’s biggest betting firms, has teamed up with a British fund manager to bid for the horse race betting licence.

OPAP has said its joint bid with Global Family Partners would be no less than 40 million euros, well above the 5.2 million initially offered by Intralot.

OPAP, which was privatized last year, holds a monopoly in lotteries and sports betting in the crisis-hit country through about 5,000 outlets.


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