UK bookmaker applies for license

British bookmaker William Hill applied yesterday to the Economy and Culture ministries for a license to operate a network of betting agencies in Greece. The company says its application «relies on the freedom of service provision and domicile as determined by European Union law.» The Greek state, says William Hill, is obliged by EU law to approve the application, and cites a recent European Court judgment in the Placanica case in Italy. It also considers improper the monopoly that state gaming company OPAP enjoys in Greece, and as a listed company «there is no way that grounds of public interest can be invoked.» William Hill is threatening that if its application is not accepted it will have recourse to European courts of justice, arguing that rejection would constitute a breach of Community law. It has consequently requested the termination of the existing contract between OPAP and the state. OPAP responded calmly to the development, with its CEO, Vassilis Neiadas, saying that William Hill had tried to obtain such a license also in the past. Neiadas confidently predicted that the Economy Ministry would not approve the application this time either. The case will close in three to four years, he said.

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