BUSINESS

OPAP monopoly extension deal rumored; Betfair punter wants his £52k back

TAGs: Betfair, greece, OPAP

opap-betfairAccording to an anonymous report in Athens newspaper Kathimerini, the Greek government has reached a tentative deal with sports betting and lottery operator OPAP that would extend OPAP’s monopoly by 10 years. The deal, said to be worth €1b, also includes a license to install 35k new betting terminals. The Kathimerini report claimed that OPAP would pay the government some of the €1b up front, with the rest paid via installments over 12-18 months.

However, an OPAP official rejected the notion that the negotiations had reached the champagne and cigars stage, telling Reuters: “Discussions on the price haven’t concluded. There is no preliminary agreement.” Both parties might want to get a move on. Under the terms of the bailout deal the cash-strapped nation received from the EU/IMF, Greece is required to raise €1.7b from the privatization of state assets by the end of September, and a further €3.3b by the end of the year. The state holds a 34% stake in OPAP.

This really isn’t Betfair’s week. First, chairman Ed Wray announced he was quitting — the latest in a long line of executives to bolt Betfair’s stable since the company went public last October. Then, in a misguided attempt to avoid media scrutiny, Wray decided to bar members of the media – even the ones who owned Betfair stock – from attending the company’s AGM. Now, a Betfair punter is threatening to commence legal action next Thursday (29) if the betting exchange hasn’t replaced the £52k he claims they deducted without cause from his online account.

On July 18, Betfair began applying new “premium charges” (40-60% of gross profit) to customers whose lifetime profits topped £250k and who bet in more than 250 markets. On Sept. 20, a Betfair punter named Sandip Sayaniya was informed that because his account activity was similar to that of four other accounts (not in his name), Betfair intended to treat all five accounts as one, and the combined amounts therein would thus be subject to premium charges. And just like that, the £52,352.85 in Sayaniya’s account now belonged to Betfair. Speaking to The Telegraph, Saaniya said: “I do not recognize any of the other four accounts named by Betfair, and have never operated any account other than my own.” For their part, Betfair claims to have “thoroughly investigated this matter and we determined that the customer was evading payment of the required fees.”

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