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OPAP to pay tax on wagers

OPAP

Opap
is facing a tax on wagers placed with the operator, following an agreement that has been reached between the Greek government and international lenders.

Reuters reported that the Greek finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, announced the plans for the five euro-cent gambling tax, which Greece has said could assist in raising €300-400m annually.

The tax will replace a 23% VAT rate on private education.

The planned changes follow the implementation of a 30% levy on OPAP’s gross gaming revenue in 2013 to meet the terms of the country’s €237bn international bailout.

OPAP reported a net profit increase of 38% to €195m for the full year 2014 and a 15% upturn in revenues to €4.26bn for the same period.

Plans for the tax have been announced as the first set of demanded reforms making up part of an aid program worth up to €86bn were revealed, after talks were held between the government, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Jiri Smejc, founder of investment group Emma Delta Hellenic Holdings, which acquired a 33% majority stake in OPAP from the government for €652m in 2013, said earlier this month that the government is set to miss out on €300m in tax income due to OPAP not being able to launch its video lottery business.

The operator was due to roll out VLTs to the market, but the development was scrapped in June after new rules were introduced by the state, including daily loss limits.

OPAP, which could take legal action over the delay, holds exclusive rights to operate certain lottery games and sports and other betting games in Greece until 2030.

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