New gaming rules revive OPAPs plans for VLTs

By Caroline Watson
Europe’s third largest betting firm, OPAP will revive plans to launch a video lottery terminals (VLTs) business. The Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics will now be able to move forward with the project after Greece’s gaming commission approved new rules.

In a bourse filing, OPAP comments: “As a result of the new rules... the board decided that all conditions are appropriate, allowing OPAP to restart its planning for the operation of VLTs in Greece”

Back in 2011, OPAP won the exclusive ten year license to run 35,000 VLTs in Greece, with predictions saying it would make up to €1bn per year in revenue from the machines.

Last year, OPAP had planned to launch VLTs but had to abandon the project after Greece implemented more stringent betting rules.

The rules, which were introduced by the Hellenic Gaming Commission, included lower jackpot levels, daily loss limits and length of play time allowed.

The company had paid around €500m for the licenses, but decided it was only prepared to re-launch the business once regulations governing it were amended. The OPAP statement read that these requirements “make timely implementation impossible.”

OPAP has taken a case against the Greek state to the London Court of International Arbitration, claiming damages of more than €1bn caused by the series of delays. However, after this change in direction, the betting firm will adjust the size of its legal claims against the state as part of the legal proceedings.

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