OPAP to launch VLTs by the end of March
OPAP, Europe’s fourth-biggest betting firm, will launch video lottery terminals (VLTs) from the end of the first quarter next year, it said yesterday. OPAP’s profitability has been sapped in recent years by an austerity tax Greece imposed on its revenue to bolster state finances under the terms of international bailouts. OPAP had planned to launch the machines last year but halted the project after Greece unexpectedly introduced tougher betting rules. The company unfroze the project this month after Greece’s gaming commission approved new, less rigid regulations. Analysts see the new business as a catalyst for the company’s future growth. OPAP will roll out some 16,500 machines in the next 18 months at existing and newly set-up outlets, chief executive officer Damian Cope said in a call to analysts. “The overall deployment of legally licensed VLTs is a brand-new development for both OPAP and the Greek market, so we will be analyzing our performance carefully as we go along,” he said.