OPAP

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OPAP – Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics S.A.
ΟΠΑΠ – Οργανισμός Προγνωστικών Αγώνων Ποδοσφαίρου Organismos Prognostikon Agonon Podosfairou A.Ε.
Anonymi Etairia
Traded as AthexOPAP
OTCGOFPY
Industry Gambling
Founded 1958
Headquarters Athens, Greece
Key people
  • Kamil Ziegler (Chairman)
  • Damian Cope (CEO)
Products Lotteries
Sports betting
Revenue Increase 1.400 billion[1]:36 (2015)
Increase €302.8 million[1]:36 (2015)
Profit Increase €210.7 million[1]:36 (2015)
Total assets Decrease €1.709 billion[1]:34 (2015)
Total equity Decrease €1.162 billion[1]:35 (2015)
Owner
Number of employees
860[1]:7 (2015)
Website opap.gr

OPAP – Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics S.A. (Greek: ΟΠΑΠ – Οργανισμός Προγνωστικών Αγώνων Ποδοσφαίρου Α.Ε.) is a Greek company organizing and conducting games of chance. It is headquartered in Athens and for many years OPAP was a state-owned gambling monopoly. The company holds the exclusive rights to organize and manage numerical lotteries and sports betting games in Greece.[3] In 2013 the privatization of the company was completed through the sale of the State's remaining 33% stake to the Emma Delta investment scheme.

History[edit]

In the 1950's an effort to upgrade Greek sport and improve its infrastructure began. In this framework, the General Secretariat for Sports (Greek: Γ.Γ.Α) was established in 1957. In order to secure funding, the idea to utilize revenue from football prognostics - following the example of other European countries - came to fruition. With this aim, OPAP was established in 1958 as a private legal entity under the umbrella of the General Secretariat for Sport.[4] At the same time of its establishment, a Royal Decree institutionalized the first game OPAP introduced named PRO-PO (the Greek Acronym for Football Prognostics) which was organised along the lines of Italy's Toto Calcio.[5] PRO-PO was launched in March 1959, a few months before the introduction of the Football League First Division and part of its revenues contributed to funding the newly created division. Initially there were no exclusive agencies and games players at partner corner-shops/kiosks, dairies, e.t.c while geographically the game was limited to Athens, Thessaloniki and Piraeus. From March, the establishment of agencies gradually began in large regional cities.

The early years[edit]

PRO-PO enjoyed success from the start. In part this was due to strong advertising campaigns. In the 1960's the game saw various improvements such as the paying out winnings for slips with 11 correct predictions. OPAP was present in 70 cities and in 1966 it had reached 795 agencies. At the same time, it moves its headquarters to Panepistimiou Street, opposite the National Library. In March 1965, OPAP launched its second game, named "6 from 36", an adaptation of a similar German game, the establishment of which was provided in the same royal decree as PRO-PO. There were 36 games on each slip and players had to predict 6 that would result in a draw with the most goals scored. The game was initially met with approval but its slips dropped quickly resulting in the game being stopped in April 1966.[6] This resulted in PRO-PO being the only game for decades to come.

Dictatorship era[edit]

During the military junta period, OPAP experienced impressive growth, helped by the promotion of sport by the dictatorial regime. Agencies shot up to 2,000 from 900 and in 1974 revenues amounted to 1.3 billion drachma, up from 176 million drachma in 1966. The increase in agency profit margins, from 5% to 10%, contributed to this expansion as did the introduction of group systems and the valuable gifts that were drawn (cars, trips etc.) since 1965.[6]

Political changeover[edit]

After the end of the dictatorship, the impressive growth of OPAP continued. In 1981 agencies amounted to 2,952 and revenue stood at 7.3 billion drachma. At the same time, the management of its sponsorship became more transparent and was subject to parliamentary scrutiny. OPAP funds contributed to the creation of hundreds of stadiums, closed gymnasiums and other sporting cites throughout the country, while its sponsorship were no longer limited to sport but extended to culture too. At the end of the decade, agencies had reached 4,000 in number and two more games were introduced, LOTTO and PROTO, the conduct of which led to the significant upgrading of the Organization's computerization.[6]

Listing in the stock exchange[edit]

The organization's growth continued at high rates on the next decade. It was characterized by the launch and operation of many new games, starting with LOTTO in 1990 and PROTO in 1992; and followed by PROPOGOAL in 1996 and TZOKER in 1997. Besides, 2000 was an important year in OPAP's history as Pame Stoixima, the first legal sports betting game, was launched in Greece. This game would quickly turn into OPAP's most profitable product. In 1999, OPAP turned into a Societe Anonyme, under the name OPAP S.A. and the duration of this legal entity form was set at 100 years. In 2001 OPAP got listed in the Athens Stock Exchange through a law, according to which, the State could dispense up to 49% of the company's share capital to investors. Initially 5% of the total stock was dispense and the State proceeded with more stock pack sakes in 2002, 2003 and 2005, with its stake being reduced at 33,6%.[7] In 2003, following a bilateral agreement between the Greek State and the Republic of Cyprus, OPAP S.A. established OPAP Cyprus Ltd, which is primary responsible for the organization, conduct and marketing of the company's games in Cyprus.

Privatization[edit]

On 11 October 2013, the State sold its remaining stake in the organization (33% of the share capital) to investment scheme Emma Delta which paid 622 million EUR to the former major shareholder, Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), for the acquisition of this stake.

Hellenic Lotteries[edit]

In July 2013, the HRADF and Hellenic Lotteries S.A. signed a concession agreement for the exclusive right to operate the Hellenic Republic's State Lotteries for a period of 12 years.[8] Hellenic Lotteries S.A. is a consortium of OPAP Investment Limited (67%), Intralot Lotteries Limited (16.5%) and Scientific Games (16.5%).[9] The total value of the financial consideration for the Hellenic Republic included the upfront fee of 190 million euros in cash and a guaranteed minimum income of 580 million euros (over a 12 year period).[10]

Horse Races S.A.[edit]

In November 2015, OPAP subsidiary, Horse Races S.A. acquired the 20-year horse-race betting licence from HRADF, at the price of 40 million euros.[11][12][13] Betting on horse racing in Greece had been run by state-owned group ODIE.[14] The first Greek races organised by OPAP subsidiary Horse Races S.A. were held in the town of Markopoulo Attica, on Friday January 22, 2016.[15] On 26 November 2016, PMU and Hellas Horse Races S.A. announced the launch of a partnership to make common pool betting on French races available to Greek punters.[16] Horse Races S.A. also provides betting on British and S. African horse racing.

OPAP's games[edit]

OPAP runs the following games:[4][17]

  • PRO-PO (Since 1 March 1959)
  • 6 out of 36 (Launched on 28 March 1965, discontinued a year later)
  • LOTTO (Since 5 December 1990)
  • PROTO (Since 10 June 1992)
  • PROPOGOAL (Since 3 March 1996)
  • TZOKER (Since 16 November 1997)
  • PAME STOIXIMA (Since 20 January 2000; In 2014 the company's digital sports betting platform was launched allowing players to bet online in Pame Stoixima and participate in the live betting games offered)
  • SUPER 3 (Since 25 November 2002)
  • EXTRA 5 (Since 25 November 2002)
  • KINO (Since 4 October 2004)
  • MONITOR GAMES (Since 22 March 2011)
  • GO LUCKY (Launched on 22 March 2011, discontinued four years later)

In April 2015 the company launched opapp, its first application for smartphones

The first PRO-PO slip[edit]

The first PRO-PO slip was launched on 1 March 1959 and included 12 matches, as well as two substitutes, the results of which would be effective, only in case of postponement or cancellation of one or more of the 12 matches. Matches were chosen from the final round of the Hellenic Championship of 1959, the second division of the Athens Union of Football Clubs, the Piraeus Union of Football Clubs and the Macedonia Union of Football Clubs, as well as from the Italian championship. 213,670 columns were completed and there was only one winner who managed to achieve 12 correct forecasts. This was Nikos Passaris, a resident of Athens, who won 228,360 Drachmas, an exceptionally high amount for that time. There were also 48 players with 11 correct forecasts, who shared the amount of 6,750.50 Drachmas.[18]

Subsidiaries[edit]

OPAP has five subsidiaries: OPAP Cyprus Ltd, that operates lottery agencies in Cyprus; OPAP SPORTS Ltd (f/k/a OPAP Glory and Glory Sports Betting) that operates sports betting agencies in Cyprus; OPAP International Ltd, OPAP Investment Ltd and OPAP Services S.A.[19]

Controversy[edit]

Criticism[edit]

  • VPN DSL line contract has not been disclosed to the agents even though the agents are charged for the whole line cost.
  • OPAP is criticized by Greek agents for not having equal commissions at the Pame Stihima game. Greece based agents only receive an 8% commission while Cyprus based agents receive a 10% commission.
  • OPAP has also reformed agencies (through OPAP Services) at Cyprus with a new corporate look but agencies at Greece have not been reformed and do not have the new corporate look even though the required money for the reform exist as they have already been kept by the company from the agents through commission deduction for some years.
  • In the September 2009 contract that agents signed with OPAP at appendix IV, the 8th paragraph states that 35% of the cost for the OPAP VPN DSL line supplied by OTE will be paid by OPAP. Until the agents strike at the 2010 Champions League final no further information was given about that obligation. After the strike agents signed papers so that OPAP can communicates directly with OTE on their behalf and check the specific charges that correspond to 35%. Almost a year later, no agent has yet received the 35% and they continue to pay the whole cost of the line even though OPAP has been granted the access to directly contact OTE for the charges.[1]

Involvement in Stanleybet shutdown[edit]

In November 2008, the government of Greece shut down the Greek operations of Liverpool-based Stanleybet International, a European gambling company. Stanleybet had recently opened two offices in Greece and was to be a major competitor to OPAP.[20] The government acted on OPAP's public complaints and raided Stanleybet offices on November 7, 2008, confiscating their assets.[21]

One of the complaints expressed by protests during the 2008 Greek riots was the government's fast action in acting on behalf of OPAP to remove competition, whereas for issues affecting public safety or the rights of the people the government has been popularly thought to be slow-acting.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "2015 Annual Report" (PDF). OPAP. 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Shareholder Structure". OPAP. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "Το ΣτΕ επικύρωσε το μονοπώλιο του ΟΠΑΠ". www.kathimerini.gr. 
  4. ^ a b "OPAP: History". OPAP.gr. 
  5. ^ "Greek Football: From the first steps to the era of PRO-PO". 
  6. ^ a b c "Greek Football: From the first steps to the era of PRO-PO". www.opap.gr/en. 
  7. ^ "Οι επιζήμιες μετοχοποιήσεις του ΟΠΑΠ". www.enet.gr. 
  8. ^ "HRADF Signs Concession Agreement with Hellenic Lotteries". http://greece.greekreporter.com.  External link in |website= (help)
  9. ^ "Scientific Games Announces its Consortium Signs the Greek State Lotteries' Concession Agreement". www.prnewswire.com. 
  10. ^ "Press Release - Signing of the concession agreement for the Hellenic State Lotteries" (PDF). 
  11. ^ "Στον ΟΠΑΠ το ιπποδρομιακό στοίχημα". www.kathimerini.gr. 
  12. ^ "Greece carries out first privatisation under radical left government". www.yahoo.com. 
  13. ^ "Horse racing employees happy with ODIE privatization". www.ekathimerini.com. 
  14. ^ "Greece starts assets sales with horse racing gambling license". www.reuters.com. 
  15. ^ "OPAP develops betting offering with first horse races in Greece". www.gamingintelligence.com. 
  16. ^ "Press Release - PMU resumes its activity in Greece" (PDF). 
  17. ^ "OPAP Homepage - Games". www.opap.gr. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  18. ^ "1959: «Το παιδί μίλησε: Προ-Πο!»". www.tovima.gr. 
  19. ^ "OPAP S.A. (Hellenic Org.of Football Prog)". Google Finance. 
  20. ^ "Tax inspectors set sights on Stanleybet". Kathimerini. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  21. ^ "Greek police raid Stanleybet outlet at OPAP's behest". EUbusiness. Archived from the original on November 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  22. ^ Christofer, Kat (2008-12-08). "Athenian democracy in ruins". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 

External links[edit]