OPAP denies competition abuse of Greek market laws

Greek lottery operator OPAP has reported upticks in revenue during Q3 as players returned and online operations gained momentum.
Image: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock

OPAP has vowed to challenge a €24.5m fine imposed on its business for violating the competition terms of Greece and the European Union (EU).

The fine was imposed by the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) siding with a challenge made against OPAP, which deemed that the Athens-listed gambling group had violated rules applied by Greece and the EU on fair competition standards.

Representing smaller Greek gambling entities, the Hellenic Cooperative of Professional Lotteries’ Agents brought forward complaints alleging that OPAP has unfairly instigated non-compete clauses from 2017 to 2022, violating legislation on allowing free market competition.   

OPAP was accused of infringing both national law and articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) concerning unfair pricing, limiting distribution of equipment, and imposing unfair conditions on transactions.

The fine of €24.5m reflects the HGC imposing a fine of €10,000 per day on OPAP for the period in which the violations are deemed to have occurred.

OPAP expressed strong disagreement with the decision, which it deemed as inaccurate, as the fine has been imposed not on its core gambling business but rather on auxiliary services provided by its agencies, including bill payment and mobile top-up services.

Furthermore the Athens-listed group highlighted that the HGC did not properly consider data from the Bank of Greece overseeing the payment services provided by its retail agents.

OPAP responded: “The company respects the institutional role of independent administrative authorities, including the Hellenic Competition Commission.

“Yet, it strongly disagrees with the content of the decision, which it considers fully baseless. [HGC’s] decision, which was not unanimous, does not relate with the company’s core business in the gaming market, but has to do with bill payment services and mobile top-up services offered by its agencies.”