STANLEYBET FIRES AT GREEK AUTHORITIES
29th May, 2013 at 09:22:13
Focuses on licence application rejection to offer offline sports betting services
The Stanleybet Group has served a formal deed of warning and demand, otherwise described as an extrajudicial declaration, to the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Education, Religion, Culture and Sports, the Hellenic Gaming Commission, OPAP S.A. and the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund.
Giving notice to the Greek Prime Minister, Court of Auditors and other bodies and authorities, the Group is seeking compensation of damages suffered "as a result of the tacit rejection by the Greek Authorities of the Group's petition for a betting license to operate in Greece and the resulting denial of access to the market place".
The group is demanding compensation from OPAP S.A. of the damages it says it has suffered as a result of its exclusion from the Greek market caused by OPAP S.A's gambling monopoly over the years.
Stanleybet has actively contested breaches of EU law both nationally and throughout Europe saying it defends its legal and fundamental right to establish and provide services in the Greek sports betting market (see previous reports) - a practice it has been fighting for since 2004.
The firm's position was strengthened by a recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) of 23 January 2013, Case C-186/11 Stanleybet et al, which highlighted the inconsistencies of the Greek sports betting monopoly within EU law.
Stanleybet said had its betting licence application to Greek authorities in 2004 not been rejected, its network of 100 new betting shops would have risen to 500 by the end of 2008. The company estimates that gross revenues during the period from 2008 to 2012 would have reached Euro 59 million per annum.
In support of its position, Stanleybet has demanded compensation of around Euro 240 million from the Greek State and OPAP S.A.
As is evident by a constant stream of legal actions the entire gambling industry is taking against the Greek State and against OPAP S.A., the increasing number of complaints at European Commission level, and the most recent CJEU ruling, the Greek Authorities seem resolved to maintain an illegal framework benefiting a company that is now 99% private, said John Whittaker, chief operating officer of the Stanleybet Group.
Stanleybet has an established track record of successful legal battles and with this action it is legitimately stating its intention to claim its legal rights to be compensated from losses incurred by being illegally barred from entry in the offline sports betting market in Greece for an exceptionally protracted length of time, Whittaker concluded.
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