Population July 2013: 10.8 million
GDP 2012: 182 Billion EUR
GDP per capita: 17,800
Taxation for Lotteries: 30% on GGR and 10% on prizes
Online Taxation:
single licence monopoly
   

LEGISLATION

The two lottery operators of Greece, the National Lottery and lotto operator OPAP, have retained their monopoly positions despite recent changes. Under pressure from its EU creditors, the Greek government fully privatized OPAP in 2013 by selling its 34% stake in the company. OPAP was also a major shareholder in the National Lottery.

OPAP is one of the largest gambling operators in Europe. After OPAP was sold, it retained its monopoly rights, amongst others for organizing the lotto and sports betting, under a 20 year licence. The terms of the privatization are being challenged by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), an association representing several online gambling operators who had been granted interim licences to operate in Greece. These licences will not be continued, as under the terms of sale OPAP will be granted a full monopoly on online lotto and sports betting.

The European Commission started infringement proceedings against Greek restrictions on the sports betting market, but these have not moved forward since the Reasoned Opinion sent in February 2008. A ruling by the CJEU in January 2013 (the Greek state against betting operator Stanleybet) suggested that the Greek monopoly structure should not last, although it is left to the national courts to make the final judgement. Until legal issues at both the national and EU level have been resolved, the legal situation in Greece, especially regarding online gambling, can be characterized as uncertain.


CHARITY LOTTERIES

As far as we know, no lotteries in Greece exist that meet the criteria of a charity lottery. Nevertheless, the state lottery and OPAP did distribute part of the sales to good causes (mainly sports) and are therefore mentioned below.

  • HELLENIC STATE LOTTERIES

    This state lottery was founded in 1875 and has operated under several names since. The lottery was previously operated as a division of the Ministry of Finance. The lottery concession was put to tender, and was won in December 2012 by a consortium of OPAP (with a 67% stake through a subsidiary, OPAP Investment Limited), Intralot (16.5% stake), Scientific Games (16.5% stake), and, with a minimal stake, Lottomatica of Italy (less than 1% stake). The licence period is 12 years. The tender entailed the exclusive right for the production, operation, distribution, promotion and overall management of the Hellenic State Lotteries. The bidders paid an upfront fee of € 190 million and will make annual payments of 30% of GGR to the Greek state. The products offered include the National, Popular and European Lottery, the Instant State Lottery or “Scratch/Xysto”, the Housing State Lottery and the New Year’s Lottery. When the State sold its stake in OPAP to private investors, it in effect also fully privatized Hellenic State Lotteries (see below).

    In 2006 the turnover was € 417.5 million, of which 61% was destined as prize money. In 2010, net profit for the government amounted to € 80 million. Revenue has dropped however, with profits for 2012 estimated at € 60 million (more complete financial data not found). More information: www.kratika-laxeia.gr

  • OPAP

    OPAP (Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics) was founded in 1958 as a non-profit organisation to operate the national football pools to generate revenues for sports. Later on, it also

    obtained the exclusive right to offer lotto games and other sports betting games, besides football, and the exclusive right to operate 35,000 slot machines. The Greek state was the largest shareholder (first with 51%, then 34%). OPAP had an exclusive license for these games for 20 years, which has been extended with 10 years until 2030. As mentioned above, the government sold its stake in OPAP in 2013, to the Greek-Czech investment fund Emma Delta, for € 652 million. OPAP will be run by a consortium of Emma Delta, Intralot and Scientific Games. OPAP will pay a 30% gaming tax on GGR. Winners pay a 10% tax over prizes, though proposed new legislation may change this. OPAP has also been granted exclusive rights to exploit VLTs (video lottery terminals) in Greece.

    OPAP currently operates six numerical lottery games (Joker, Lotto, Proto, Extra 5, Super 3 and Kino) and five sports betting games (Stihima, Propo, Propo-goal, Monitor Games, and Go Lucky). It distributes its games through an on-line network of approximately 5,000 agents. OPAP also operates lottery games and sports betting in Cyprus.

    OPAP originally contributed especially to football clubs and associations in Greece. Currently it states that its contribution to society has widened to the areas of culture, education, health, environment and sports.

    Revenues of OPAP have suffered severely from the financial crisis pressing on the country’s economy. In 2009, the revenues or turnover of the company (operations in Greece only) amounted to € 5.2 billion. In 2012, turnover of the company stood at € 3.8 billion.

    Turnover of OPAP Group (including subsidiaries and activities on Cyprus) amounted to € 3,971 million in 2012, a decline of 9% compared to 2011. Gross profits also declined 9%, to € 773 million. Net profits amounted to € 506 million. Prize pay-outs amounted to € 2,670 million (67% of turnover), putting GGR at € 1,302 million (33% of turnover). Costs of operations amounted to € 529 million (13% of turnover). OPAP made donations and grants to the amount of € 18 million (↓37% compared to 2011), and contributed through sponsorship an amount of € 70 million (↑15). Of the net profit of the Company (€ 513 million), € 182 million was distributed in dividends to the shareholders. The difference between Group profit before and after tax is € 133 million (3% of turnover, or 10% of GGR).

    For more information visit: www.opap.gr