The privatization of the Greek Horse Racing Organization (ODIE) is once again on hold due to early elections.
The loss-making ODIE is 100 percent state-owned and over 200 million euros in arrears to the government, which the indebted organization will not be able to repay. As a result, the government agreed with the European Commission to liquidate the organization.
The Greek side, however, keeps postponing the liquidation as it seeks first to complete the privatization of the organization’s exclusive mutual betting rights at racetracks. It is believed this is the only way for Greek horse racing to survive.
The Greek Organization of Football Prognostics SA (OPAP), Europe’s second-biggest gambling firm based on market value, has already deposited 8 million euros with the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) in order to take up this right but is facing opposition from the president of the Parliament, Zoe Constantopoulou. Sources at the TAIPED say Constantopoulou refused to raise the ratification for a plenary vote in the June 30 government bill.
Two successive governments have so far failed to complete the privatization, which is ultimately expected to generate 40.5 million euros for the state coffers. Electronic gambling giant Intralot, which is OPAP’s parent company, also owns ODIE’s real estate and is suing the organization for 25 million euros in damages.