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OPAP loses online sports betting license

Athens-listed gambling group OPAP SA is facing disruption in its home market of Greece following the decision taken by the State Council to revoke the operator’s online sports betting licence.

The decision comes after Austrian operator Goalbet successfully appealed the decision from the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s (EEEP). It argued that OPAP was never licensed to offer online gambling services and that it did not comply with laws. The decision was later upheld by judges of Greece’s highest-ranking administrative court.

The dispute relates to the 2014 launch of Pame Stoixima, OPAP online sportsbook subsidiary. Goalbet challenged EEEP’s approval of OPAP’s online betting license stating that Pame Stoixima had been granted favourable conditions by the EEEP, allowing it to bypass licensing criteria as the online sportsbook formed part of OPAP during its tenure as a state-owned monopoly.

The Council said that OPAP should have followed the licensing procedure that the other 24 legitimate online betting companies were subject to. Thus, it said that OPAP’s licence does not apply to online gambling and, therefore, its cancellation was necessary.

Greek media reported that the State Council’s ruling may lead to Goalbet demanding compensation from the EEEP. It was also noted that OPAP will be allowed to continue its retail operations in the Greek market with lottery and sports betting still available in this form.

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