June 6, 2019 / 2:43 PM / 10 days ago

OPAP freezes VLT roll-out until Greece settles regulatory issue

ATHENS, June 6 (Reuters) - OPAP, Europe’s fourth-largest betting firm by revenue, has frozen the roll-out of video-lottery terminals in Greece until the country settles a “procedural” regulatory issue, its chief executive said on Thursday.

OPAP currently operates 20,091 video-lottery machines and must add an additional 4,900 by the end of the year to complete the installation of a total of 25,000 machines under an exclusivity agreement with Greece.

The company said on it had decided to put the plan on hold after a Greek court in April annulled a previous decision by the Greek gambling commission which set out the regulations for the machines.

OPAP’s Chief Executive Officer Damian Cope said the ruling was “purely procedural” as it deemed that the regulation should have been originally issued through a presidential decree. He said he was confident that the issue would be resolved.

“At the moment, we are continuing all of the necessary activities related to the planning of our roll-out,” Cope told an analysts call.

“Our intention is to complete the roll out by the end of the year and as soon as we get a clarification that we want, then we’ll be up again.” (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by David Evans)

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