OPAP’s Monopoly Under Fire

The Greek government has promised the new owners of OPAP a monopoly on online betting in the country, but the plan has hit two big obstacles. Prospective competitors in the rest of the EU are suing, and the European Commission is investigating the deal.

The Greek government’s award of the country’s online monopoly to the new owners of OPAP could face a challenge form the European Commission.

A report in the newspaper Ekathimerini said the government, which recently sold the former state-owned monopoly to a private investment group known as Emma Delta for €652 million, is pressing Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras to push a new exclusivity measure through the Greek parliament. But online gambling groups elsewhere in the EU are protesting, and the EC has launched an investigation into the agreement granting Emma Delta the new monopoly through 2020 and the monies paid to secure it.

The Remote Gaming Association, an EU-wide trade group representing private-sector operators, is suing the government, accusing it of deliberately passing over its members’ applications for gambling licenses in order to secure the sale of OPAP to Emma Delta.

There risks for Emma Delta are considerable, with the World Cup approaching and OPAP pushing forward with plans for an online sports book.