ECONOMY

OPAP set to be first past the post in race for betting permit

The OPAP gaming company is the strong favorite to win the license for horse racing betting in Greece following Tuesday’s opening of the financial bids by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED).

True to its word, the Greek firm that is partly owned by a Czech fund submitted an improved offer that was not below the 40-million-euro mark, amounting to 40.5 million euros. This allowed TAIPED to proclaim OPAP the “provisional successful bidder” according to the terms of the invitation of offers.

Sources say that the price offered was between three and seven times higher than that tabled by rival bidder Intralot. Kathimerini has been told by a very reliable source that the price in Intralot’s bid amounted to 5.2 million, which would potentially come up to 15 million, through a “sophisticated” trick.

TAIPED board members also discussed the intervention in the tender by the European Commission a few days ago. They agreed to send Brussels all the details requested regarding the ongoing tender for the betting license and the previous one that had failed. They estimated that the submission of those details would put an end to any procedures the Commission might be thinking of launching against Greece on the basis of the TAIPED decisions.

The next steps in the process for the betting license concern the submission of the draft contract to the State Audit Council for approval, and then to Parliament for ratification.

TAIPED, along with the government, will also need to begin the process for the postponement of the start of the sale of the Horse Race Betting Organization (ODIE), which was supposed to begin on September 29. The extension to be granted could vary from five to 10 months.