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Stanleybet wants the OPAP monopoly overturned

Fixed-odds sportsbetting firm Stanleybet International Limited is threatening to take the Greek government to court in order to get the domestic monopoly granted to operator OPAP overturned.

According to a report from the Reuters news service, Stanleybet has accused Greece of rejecting a request it filed in 2004 to offer sportsbetting in Greece and now intends to seek damages for lost revenues amounting to approximately €240 million ($311.5 million).

OPAP is one of Europe's largest gaming companies with total revenues of €869.3 million ($1.123 billion) for the three months to the end of March and holds a land-based sportsbetting and lotteries monopoly until 2030. Faced with growing debts, the Greek government recently agreed to offload its 33 percent controlling stake in the operator to investment firm Emma Delta in exchange for €652 million ($851 million) to be paid in instalments.

“The Greek authorities seem resolved to maintain an illegal framework benefiting a company that is not 99 percent private,” said John Whittaker, Chief Operating Officer for Liverpool-based Stanleybet.

“With this action [Stanleybet] is legitimately stating its intention to claim its legal rights to be compensated.”

The European Court of Justice ruled the OPAP monopoly illegal in January and urged Greece to push ahead with reforms designed to protect consumers or open up the sector.