Greek operator group OPAP has strongly disagreed with a €24.5m fine it received from the Hellenic Gaming Commission for violating Greek and European Union competition rules.
Citing that it “strongly disagrees” with the financial action imposed, OPAP received the penalty as the Hellenic Cooperative of Professional Lotteries issued complaints stating that the firm had unfairly instigated non-compete clauses from 2017-2022, and had therefore undermined legislation on free market competition.
Seen as a violation of Greek and the EU’s fair competition standards, OPAP was accused of infringing articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, relating to unfair pricing, limited distribution of equipment and imposing unfair conditions on transactions.
As a result of the breaches, the HGC issued a fine to represent €10,000 per day that the violations are deemed to have occurred, which stands at a total of €24.5m.
OPAP’s disagreement with the decision comes as the firm believes the fine has been imposed on its core gambling business when it should have been based on services provided by its agencies, such as bill payment and mobile top-up services.
The group also suggested that the HGC did not properly consider data from the Bank of Greece regarding the payment services provided by its retail agents.
In its response, OPAP stated: “The company respects the institutional role of independent administrative authorities, including the Hellenic Competition Commission.
“Yet, it strongly disagrees with the content of the decision, which it considers fully baseless. [HGC’s] decision, which was not unanimous, does not relate with the company’s core business in the gaming market, but has to do with bill payment services and mobile top-up services offered by its agencies.”