EU regulators okay OPAP exclusive betting rights

BRUSSELS Wed Oct 3, 2012 5:45am EDT

BRUSSELS Oct 3 (Reuters) - Greek gambling monopoly OPAP secured EU regulatory approval on Wednesday for exclusive betting rights to 2030 and an exclusive licence to run video lottery terminals after agreeing to pay an adequate fee for the privileges.

The European Commission said the measures complied with EU state aid rules.

"Greece has cooperated fully with the Commission to ensure that OPAP will not benefit from any undue financial advantage through the prolongation of its exclusive rights and its license for video lottery terminals," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

"This allows for a timely privatisation of the gambling operator."

OPAP, 34-percent by the Greek state, will pay an additional levy of up to 5 percent on gross revenues generated by the 35,000 video lottery terminals, the EU watchdog said.

Athens wants to sell a 33 percent stake in OPAP as part of a raft of disposals under the terms of its EU bailout. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)

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