Kατάστημα MEGA PLAY στο Περιστέρι Αττικής Φώτο: ΟΠΑΠ

Greece exempts OPAP betting stores from shutdown, shares jump

The decision affects both the traditional OPAP agencies and its Play stores in areas where there is a "mini" lockdown, an area where 60% of the Greek population live. The news sent OPAP shares nearly 5% higher, extending yesterday's gains.

The Greek government has excluded agencies belonging to betting company OPAP from restrictive measures being introduced to fight the pandemic. 

The decision affects both the traditional OPAP agencies and its Play stores in areas where there is a "mini" lockdown, an area where 60% of the Greek population live. The news sent OPAP shares nearly 5% higher, extending yesterday's gains.

In a last-minute change, the OPAP network was placed along with the rest of the retail sector that remains open, changing the status it was until 2 weeks ago, when it was placed in catering services, as noted by Pantelakis Securities. As with the rest of the retail, OPAP stores will remain closed from today until November 16 in high risk areas such as Thessaloniki and Serres, which represent 10 percent of the Greek population.

OPAP agencies had remained closed for two months, and its Play stores for almost three months, in the spring, when there was a complete lockdown. OPAP then warned that each month of full lockdown results in losses of 45 million euros in EBITDA and ate up 20 million euros of cash per month from its liquidity reserves.

The impact this time is expected to be much smaller, as only 10% of all stores will be closed for two weeks. In addition, unlike the spring, sports activity will continue for all major national and international events, which will allow betting activity to continue.

Also, since OPAP increased its stake in Stoiximan (to 69% from 37.5% in a stake that will soon reach 84.5% in order to fully acquire the activities in Greece and Cyprus), which holds 45% of the market share in online betting, this is expected to help offset in the decline in revenue from its store network.

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