William Hill to explore Greek fortunes

Greek holding company Demco has signed a deal with Britain’s second-biggest bookmaker, William Hill, to look into business opportunities in Greece and the Balkans, a Demco spokesman said yesterday. «We have signed an agreement covering the Balkans, Turkey and Cyprus. We are interested in the Greek market when the gaming market will be deregulated,» the spokesman said. In a statement last week, William Hill said the partners would develop a joint venture following the deregulation of the Greek betting market, expected in the medium term. Europe’s biggest betting company, OPAP, majority-owned by the Greek state, has a monopoly in the national betting market until 2020. The Demco spokesman said the partners would also be interested in Stoichima, a popular football betting game offered by OPAP and for which gaming systems operator company Intralot has operating rights until 2007. Stoichima brought 1.6 billion euros ($2.07 billion) in revenues for OPAP last year. Demco, controlled by Greek businessman Dimitris Kontominas, has interests in the financial services, insurance, telecoms, the media, aviation and food industries.

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