At 34 percent state-owned, OPAP is one of Greece’s most valuable assets, but the gaming monopoly which holds the exclusive rights to offer sports betting and lotteries has posted 13 percent drop in first-quarter net profit.
Contributing factors to the drop in first quarter net profit were chiefly attributed to deteriorating conditions in the debt-stricken economy of Greece and fewer sporting events.
The Greek government has been dragging its feet with its plan to open up the market and allow video-lotto machines and online betting as well as the sale of its stake in OPAP. Despite the poor economic conditions in Greece, OPAP’s net profit for the first quarter exceeded expectations.
Net profit came in at 167 million euros ($234.8 million) compared with a forecast for 161.7 million in a Reuters poll.
Sales fell 18 percent to 1.12 billion euros, compared with a forecast for 1.17 billion. Turnover from the two flagship games, Kino and Stihima, were down 14 percent and 23 percent respectively.
The EBITDA profit margin was flat at 19.1 percent, helped by operating cost cuts and lower payouts to Stihima winners.
The much anticipated changes to Greece’s gaming market could be just months away. OPAP CEO Yannis Spanoudakis has said that he expects Greece could finally vote in a bill which will liberalise gambling in the country by August.