Europe’s fourth-largest lottery and sportsbetting firm, the Greek Organization Of Football Prognostics (OPAP), has released its third-quarter financial results showing a 40% drop year-on-year in net profit to around $31.03 million.
According to a report from the Reuters news service, Athens-based OPAP and its network of some 5,750 Greek and Cypriot outlets were fully privatized in 2013 with the company’s third-quarter bottom line adversely affected by the imposition of an austerity tax on its revenues. This is the third time since 2010 that Greece has instituted such a retroactive duty with the most recent taking the rate up by a further five percentage points to 35%.
Reuters reported that the third-quarter result was below analysts’ previous average forecast for net profit of $35.37 million although robust performance from its flagship lottery Kino and a scratchcard game helped OPAP’s gross gaming revenues swell by 6% year-on-year to hit $337.81 million.
Despite the disappointing results, OPAP has revealed that it intends to unfreeze a plan to launch video lottery terminals in Greece after the nation’s gaming commission approved new and less rigid rules. The firm’s Chief Executive Officer, Damian Cope, explained that the company now plans to roll out some 16,500 machines over the course of the next 18 months at existing and newly set-up outlets with industry analysts widely predicting that the move could serve as a catalyst for future growth.
“The overall deployment of legally licensed video lottery terminals is a brand-new development for both OPAP and the Greek market so we will be analyzing our performance carefully as we go along,” Cope told Reuters.