Government to Slash OPAP’s Video Lottery Terminals

Greek authorities are looking for a way to cut the number of video lottery terminals (VLTs) that gaming privatised monopoly OPAP operates in the country.

The Finance Ministry has tabled a bill seeking to slash the number of VLTs to 25,000, so that there will be “a more effective supervision by the authorities,” as well as giving residents “smaller exposure to gambling.”

OPAP, Europe’s fourth-biggest betting operator, was given the green-light last year to roll out 35,000 machines in the country. The company said it will finish the installation of 16,500 terminals by May 2018, while its suppliers —IGT, Inspired Gaming, Scientific Games and Synot Group— will provide the remaining 18,500 machines.

OPAP offers sports betting and lottery products in about 5,750 outlets in Greece and Cyprus via a revenue-sharing scheme with agents. The betting operator has been punting on its new VLT business to become a catalyst for future growth, although the costs of the rollout caused OPAP’s net profit to fall 8.7%, reaching €39 million in the first quarter of 2017.

The rollout of VLTs, which started operating in January 2017, is still in progress, with 53 gaming halls—as of June—hosting a total of 1,355 machines, according to OPAP.