ECONOMY

OPAP tender is stalled

The tender for the renewal of the technological platform of state gaming company OPAP is definitely heading toward a dead end. The clash between the tender’s evaluation committee and the governing board of OPAP on the decision of the evaluation eventually led on Thursday night to another fruitless committee session. Yesterday there was word of committee members resigning, but what is more important is that the validity of the letters of guarantee of the three candidate contractors will probably not be extended after July 15. The tender has been frozen the last few weeks as the committee insisted on excluding one of the three candidates (Scientific American), but the OPAP board insisted on a decision that would short-list all three candidates (G-Tech, Intralot and Scientific American). Now the most likely outcome will be the renewal of OPAP’s contract with Intralot, as the contract that started last January for the operation of 3,500 terminals is to expire at the end of the month. There may also be a new contract aimed at replacing the old-generation terminals, some 50 percent of all operating terminals. Given that the tender has been ongoing since early 2006, hardly anyone believed that something would come of it in the last few months. Clashes and pressures led in July 2006 to a partial recomposition of the committee, with the resignation of its then president, Panayiotis Tsanakas, and his replacement by Constantinos Bouzakis. Market professionals put the blame on the government and mainly Deputy Culture Minister Giorgos Orfanos, who is politically responsible for OPAP, and for the fiasco in the biggest information technology tender in Europe. The government’s choices initially pointed toward a change in OPAP’s supplier, with US-Italian G-Tech being the preferred option, but eventually the change of a technological platform for the corporation was deemed too risky.