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Greek gambling company OPAP OKs licensing deal

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 29, 2011 6:24 PM

ATHENS (Reuters) - The board of Greek gambling company OPAP gave initial approval on Thursday for the firm to pay 935 million euros ($1.27 billion) to the government to extend its monopoly and buy a new videolotto license, an OPAP official told Reuters.

Partly state-owned OPAP, one of Greece's most precious listed assets, is key to the country's efforts to raise 4 billion euros from privatizations this year and convince its international lenders it is meeting its obligations to receive a new portion of an EU/IMF bailout.

To boost state coffers, the government will extend OPAP's monopoly by 10 years until 2030 and grant it the sole license to install 35,000 videolotto machines (VLTs) in the country.

The board gave its initial approval to the proposal of the Greek state for extending the concession for 10 years, said an OPAP official who requested anonymity.

The price is 375 million euros, the official said, adding that OPAP will pay a fee of 5 percent on each game's gross profit from 2020 to 2030.

For the 35,000 VLTs, the price is 560 million euros, of which 474 million will be paid with the signing of the deal, the official said.

The board will continue to meet on Friday, the official said.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou. Editing by Ingrid Melander and Robert MacMillan)