Greece has taken austerity to a new level after completing a deal to sell a third of Opap, the state-controlled gambling monopoly to private investors.
The 33% stake in the incredibly busy operation came with a price tag of €652 million ($870.52 million) for Jiri Smejc, a Czech investor who runs the Emma Delta Fund. Emma Delta is a partner in an investment group that recently purchased the Greek lottery system.
While the Greek government can be forgiven for taking a fire sale mentality in their dealings with Emma Delta, some European operators have derided the deal as a violation of European Union trade deals.
Both Betfair and William Hill have filed paperwork aimed at taking control of Opap and have accused the Greeks of giving Smejc special treatment.
The companies are also suggesting that Greece is selling itself short by selling off Opap, rather than running it themselves and collecting taxes on its €4 billion turnover.
If their complaints, which are backed by the Remote Gaming Association, are successful, it’s possible that the companies could receive some sort of settlement from Greece.
For now, the deal is moving forward.
What do you think of Emma Delta’s Opap purchase? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.