After a long tough stretch, the Greek gaming industry last month began to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
OPAP, the government-owned operator, is selling its sole license for horse-race betting, according to Reuters. It is the first sale of a state asset by the new leftist-led coalition government, which is trying to right the country’s ship of state. On April 24 the Hellenic Asset Privatization Development Fund was set to formalize a deal selling the license to Athens-based Greek Organization of Football Prognostics.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Reuters that the country may be forced to divest of other state assets as it struggles with a devastated economy.
Meanwhile, the gaming industry, pummeled by the recession and a still-troubled economy, is showing signs of life, according to recently released figures from the country’s gaming commission.
Kathimerini reports that Greek bettors spent €5.9 billion on games of chance in 2014, up 9 percent from the previous year. It was the first increase since the depths of the global recession in 2009. Gamblers also took more risks last year, with the average bet rising 7.5 percent.
Of the total bets, €3.8 billion went to gaming firm OPAP and €500 million to Hellenic Lotteries, for 72 percent of the market. Casinos accounted for 27 percent, or €1.6 billion, down from €1.7 billion in 2013; and 1 percent, or €50 million went to horse racing, also down from 2013’s €65 million.