OPAP seeks €1bn damages over VLT fiasco

OPAP seeks €1bn damages over VLT fiasco

Friday, November 27, 2015 Totally Gaming
The Greek firm said regulatory changes had made the project unviable

OPAP is suing the Greek state for €1bn ($1.1bn) in damages in relation to its shelved video lottery terminals (VLTs) contract.

The gaming company was in 2011 awarded the licence to run 35,000 VLTs, but announced in July that it had suspended their launch after claiming that regulatory changes introduced by the Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP) had “render[ed] the project no longer economically viable.”

OPAP, which had predicted it would make up to €1bn per year in revenue the VLTs, has now taken its case to the London Court of International Arbitration.

An OPAP statement read: "Despite repeated attempts by the company to work with all the competent state authorities to arrive at a reasonable and balanced VLT regulatory framework that secures public interest and public revenues and at the same time allows the economic viability of the VLT business for OPAP SA and its business partners, in accordance with the 2011 VLT License Agreement, the regulatory framework has not been changed."

OPAP’s management has also delivered a written warning to the Finance Ministry in Athens regarding what it sees an alleged “violation” of its rights after the government announced plans for a €0.05 tax on bets.

OPAP said: "This levy discriminates against OPAP and favours other operators of games of chance in Greece, including unlicensed and unregulated in Greece online operators that operate in violation of OPAP's exclusivity rights. OPAP intends to take further legal actions at the earliest appropriate time."

OPAP issued a Q3 trading update this week, which showed that profits had fallen 8.5 per cent to €49m. Earnings dropped 7.8 per cent to €87m, revenue declined 13 per cent to €301m and wagering turnover shrank by 15.7 per cent to €901m.

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