Brussels, 3 October 2012
State aid: Commission finds OPAP's exclusive rights and exclusive VLT license contain no state aid after amendments
The European Commission has authorised Greece, under EU state aid rules, to prolong until 2030 exclusive rights granted to OPAP, the Greek public gambling operator, to operate 13 games of chance, and to grant an exclusive licence to the same operator to operate 35,000 Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) until 2022. The Commission concluded that OPAP will pay an adequate fee in exchange of the exclusive rights and VLT license and therefore received no undue economic advantage.
Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "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. The Commission has therefore approved these measures under EU state aid rules. This allows for a timely privatisation of the gambling operator."
Under the arrangements notified by Greece to the Commission, OPAP will benefit from the prolongation of its exclusive right to operate 13 games of chance by 10 years ending in 2030, and the grant of an exclusive VLT Licence to operate 35,000 Video Lottery Terminals for 10 years until 2022.
Following the notification of the arrangements, Greece cooperated actively with the Commission to determine the market values of the exclusive rights and the VLT licence. On the basis of a common valuation, the Greek authorities increased the consideration to be paid by OPAP for the VLT agreement by an additional levy of up to 5% on the VLT's gross gaming revenues, depending on the level of these revenues.
In light of this amendment, the Commission found that the prolongation of the exclusive rights and the VLT licence contained no state aid because overall OPAP will pay an adequate market fee for both arrangements.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.33988 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.