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OPAP Q2 profit up; Cyprus bet shops take refuge in British Sovereign Base Areas

TAGs: cyprus, greece, OPAP

opap-profit-cyprus-bet-shopsGreek monopoly betting outfit OPAP has reported a 4.1% rise in earnings to €160.2m and an 18% rise in profits to €126.1m in the second quarter of 2012. The boffo profit performance comes despite a 7.5% drop in revenues to €989.6b, which was offset by a partial reversal of OPAP’s 2011 tax provision and lowered deferred taxes. OPAP’s fixed-odds betting product Stihima was the lone revenue bright spot, rising 2.2% on the strength of the Euro 2012 footie extravaganza. The new in-play option at OPAP shops added an additional €20m this year, but overall sports betting revenues slipped 8.2% to €399.6m. OPAP’s number games revenue fell 7% to €589.9m, of which Kino accounted for €516.9m (–5.5%). For the year to date, OPAP revenues are off 6.2% and earnings are down 6.4%, reflecting the general turmoil experienced by the overall Greek economy.

Meanwhile, over in Cyprus, police are pondering their next move after launching a crackdown on betting shops that don’t have an OPAP logo over the door. The crackdown followed passage of legislation in July banning any form of online betting other than the passive lottery games provided by OPAP, which many independent operators viewed as thinly-disguised state intervention to bolster OPAP’s bottom line. Problem for the cops is, some of the shops they shut down have since reopened in the British Sovereign Base Areas (SBA). The two SBAs, located on the southern tips of the island, are home to British military bases and about 15k total residents. More to the point, they operate under a separate legal system – making Cyprus’ new OPAP-friendly laws difficult to enforce. Police spokesman Andreas Angelides told the Cyprus Mail the frustrated force was in communication with their counterparts in the SBAs to see what action could be taken, if any.

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