OPAP’s tender terms said to favor Intralot

Several consortia are vying for the 195-million-euro contract to supply state-controlled betting company OPAP with a new IT system and terminals and are prepared to fight to the last, although some suspect the bidding process may be tilted to favor the company’s perennial supplier. According to sources, the call for bids will be published as soon as Friday, but with changes from the original draft that are considered favorable to current supplier Intralot, an Intracom group company, which also supplies betting companies across the world. For this reason, the two US-based companies that have expressed an interest in the bidding process are seriously considering pulling out altogether. It appears that the OPAP management has decided to abolish the 15 percent discount limit that it had announced it would impose on the estimated budget. The Americans consider this provides Intralot with a relative advantage. There are also rumors that, in the assessment of the bid winner, the financial offer will be given greater weight (30 percent instead of 25 percent). The weight of the other 70 percent will be given on each proposal’s technical merit. OPAP’s management is said to have argued that a discount limit would risk violating European Union directives on public contracts. However, market watchers point out that the previous call for bids, which was finally annulled, had included the discount limit and that there were no objections then. The size of the project has attracted the interest of the biggest companies active in the games of chance sector. All foreign bidders have allied themselves with a Greek company, but, with the exception of Intralot, the Greek partners are nothing more than minor subcontractors, with the foreign companies providing both the hardware and software for OPAP’s new information system. The final number of bidders is unknown, but, according to market insiders, they include: Intralot with UK company Ladbrokes; US company GTech with Greek IT firm Singular; Sweden’s SNet with Greece’s Unisystems; Italy’s Fimeccanica with Greece’s Lanaras group; and Scientific Games (USA) with the Kopelouzos group. Smaller foreign firms are expected to show interest as well, but those listed above will be the strongest bidders, if they do decide to bid. The winning bidder will undertake to supply OPAP with a central information systems center in Athens and a smaller one in Thessaloniki; software to run the center and the games of chance; a monitoring, training and development center; 9,000 terminals for OPAP’s affiliated outlets across the country; 500 automated terminals for players; 6,000 sorting terminals; software for other services; a network infrastructure; and technical service for five years after the installation of the system.