High court ruling says current framework for VTLs in Greece illegal; presidential decree needed

Wednesday, 03 April 2019 23:42
UPD:23:44
EUROKINISSI/ΠΑΝΑΓΟΠΟΥΛΟΣ ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ
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A Council of State (CoS) ruling this week has declared the current operation of video lottery terminals (VLTs) by the ATHEX-listed Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics S.A. as illegal, pending the issuance of a presidential decree to regulate the specific electronic games of chance.

The ruling by Greece's high court refers to gaps in the current legal framework outlining the terms and conditions for the installation and operation of VTLs, i.e. electronic slot machines of all varieties.

The current framework was approved by the semi-autonomous Hellenic Gaming Commission, the regulator of the sector in the country.

The successful legal challenge was the result of a lawsuit filed by the casinos in Loutraki and Corfu, respectively. A similar lawsuit has been filed by the municipality of Athens.

The gaming commission's 2016 decision had allowed the mass installation and operation of some 35,000 VLTs around Greece, and particularly in urban areas, for a period of 18 years.

The contract between the state and OPAP reached 560 million euros.

By all accounts, the next step is the urgent issuance of a presidential decree for the entire sector, with gaming halls operated by OPAP to continue operation until the court ruling is officially published.

At the end of 2018 OPAP had installed nearly 19,000 VLTs, with the goal for 2019 being 25,000 VLTs. OPAP's gaming halls, the Play network, exceed 350. GGR, meanwhile, exceeded 200 million euros for 2018.

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