In Greece, police raided an Athens outlet of UK and Malta-based sportsbetting group StanleyBet International Limited late last week alleging illegal betting activities.
The shop had opened only ten days earlier along with a sister site in the nation’s second-largest city Thessaloniki and the police operation was conducted following a complaint filed by Greek betting monopoly OPAP
Two people were arrested with one individual subsequently released and officials announced that they had confiscated machinery and more than $7,000 in cash. According to a police statement, the outlet had ‘conducted illegal betting without a permit from the appropriate authorities aiming to make monetary gain at the expense of the Greek state’.
OPAP signed a concession agreement with the Government in 2000 that gave it exclusive rights over all operations in the Greek betting market for 20 years. Under the terms of this deal along with current legislation, the monopoly also has exclusive rights over the operation and management of any new games in Greece on sporting events.
However, StanleyBet, which has over 1,400 shops in Belgium, Croatia, Romania and Poland, stated that it had a legal right to provide services under European Union law and prior European Court of Justice rulings. It posted sales of around $508 million last year and previously unsuccessfully attempted to enter this closed market by asking for a permit from the state.
'The company will defend the rights (arising) from its contract with the Greek state in every legal manner,' read a statement from OPAP.