[toc]Greece’s largest gambling operator, OPAP, has struck a deal with Betgenius that will see the new Betgenius Sportsbook Platform replace the existing platform provided by GTECH.
Betgenius will also become the primary in-play data provider across both online and retail sports betting channels.
Betgenius will be providing data for around 130,000 events per year, including the European favorites of soccer, basketball and tennis.
Damian Cope, CEO of OPAP, said:
“We are very pleased to be announcing this deal with Betgenius, which is an important step in building a world class portfolio of products and services for OPAP’s customers. Our cooperation with Betgenius will allow us to be in more control of our digital sportsbook product and also provide the flexibility to enable us to react quickly to the fast-changing world of digital sports betting.”
The deal is a real feather in the cap for Betgenius, since it will be replacing OPAP’s existing provider GTECH, which is a much larger company.
Jack Davison, managing director of Betgenius, said:
“We are hugely proud and excited to have been selected by OPAP as a key partner in its efforts to offer its customers the best sports betting experience possible.
OPAP has also struck deals with Playtech and Novomatic
Complementing the Betgenius deal, OPAP has extended its existing relationship with Playtech to provide the software for self-service betting terminals (SSBT) across OPAP’s extensive network of agents throughout Greece.
The Playtech powered SSBTs will roll out in the first half of 2017. OPAP’s new virtual sports betting product will also launch.
Virtual Football will be the first virtual sports betting available, as part of a previously announced deal with Inspired Gaming. Other sports will follow in 2018.
OPAP also offers Greek lottery games, for which it has a monopoly. It has chosen Novomatic’s Lottery Solutions product to replace all of its existing retail lottery terminals by 2018.
Novomatic will also be providing its Player Account Management System, which OPAP will deploy over its digital channels.
The series of deals is part of a €100 million technology upgrade strategy. That will continue for the next two years.
OPAP has a privileged position in the Greek market
OPAP was formerly under the control of the Greek government which held a 33 percent stake in the company.
The fiscal crisis and bailout conditions set by the troika of the EU, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), led to the forced sale of the government’s stake in August 2013 for €652 million.
The company enjoys a virtual monopoly over online gambling and lottery lasting 15 years. That was done to get the best price it could for the sale.
Competitors protested that the Greek laws benefiting OPAP breached EU laws. But the EU Commission gave tentative approval, while reserving judgment on their legality.
Greece remains under financial pressure, and in March 2015 proposed again opening up the market to offshore operators.
The then Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis proposed issuing new online gambling licenses (paywall) at €3 million each, with an extra minimum of €1 million a year in tax.
The proposal never got off the ground after the EU refused to believe the Greek estimates that the measure would raise €500 million a year. Instead the government introduced punitive tax rates on video lottery terminals (VLTs).
The new taxes caused OPAP to halt temporarily the deployment of the VLTs. It claimed that the tax rates made them commercially unviable.
Uncertainty remains about what measures the Greek government will make or be forced to make in order to increase revenues. But for the moment, OPAP is riding high. And that has given Betgenius the opportunity to prove the quality of its new Sportsbook Platform.