Playtech has lost out on the potentially lucrative contract to supply online gambling products to Europe’s biggest betting company.
Greek sports betting monopoly OPAP, 34% owned by the Greek state, shortlisted Playtech along with Intralot and Lottomatica’s supply division GTECH G2 back in March.
However, it was announced today that OPAP had chosen to award the joint venture contract to Italian-owned lottery giant Lottomatica’s GTECH G2 egaming arm. The strategic partners will bid for any licences offered by the Greek state under its new online gambling law, passed last August, to offer products including sports betting, casino and poker.
“This choice allows OPAP to make an important step in its history and offer iGaming services,” the company said in a statement this morning.
OPAP had reportedly been weighing up a bid for London-listed operator Sportingbet prior to shortlisting the three service providers earlier this year.
Greece, one of Europe’s largest gambling markets, passed a law to regulate online gaming last August, enabling the Minister of Finance to invite tenders for an unlimited number of five-year online gaming licences.
The law was however the subject of a State Aid complaint to the European Commission submitted by lobby group the Remote Gambling Association in October 2011 on behalf of its membership, which includes all the leading pan-European operators such as 888, Betfair, bwin.party, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Sportingbet and William Hill.
The RGA argued that the law flouted State Aid rules to unfairly favour OPAP through the tax regime, by exempting its land-based operations from the 30% gross profit tax to be levied on online businesses and also from a 10% withholding tax on all winnings under €100.
RGA chief Clive Hawkswood said he was concerned Greek authorities were tilting the tax regime in favour of OPAP “with the aim of increasing its value prior to a proposed sale of the government’s share”.
The embattled Greek government’s share in OPAP has been valued at over €1bn.