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OPAP secures exclusive concession agreement in Cyprus

| By Robert Fletcher
OPAP has entered into a long-term concession agreement with the Republic of Cyprus for the exclusive provision of games of chance in the country.
OPAP Cyprus

The agreement, struck by the OPAP Cyprus subsidiary, will run for 15 years and is effective immediately. The concession covers conducting, providing and managing designated games of chance.

OPAP also secured a new licence from the National Betting Authority (NBA) of Cyprus, which regulates gambling in the country. The consideration for the licence will be paid in 15 annual instalments, based on the annual performance of OPAP Cyprus. OPAP has already paid the first instalment of €4.2m (£3.6m/$4.5m), with future payments due on 31 January each year.

The licence also sets out taxation details for OPAP. This includes a 22.5% tax on gross gaming revenue (GGR) of games of chance in Cyprus.

In addition, OPAP must pay an amount equal to 5.0% of GGR generated from its games for sponsorship of sporting, social and charitable activities in Cyprus. 

OPAP is certainly no stranger to the Cyprus market, having been active in the country since 1969. Its current offering includes the Joker, Lotto, Proto, Kino, Super 3, Extra 5, Propo and Propogoal games. The group also operates a network of more than 200 retail stores across the country.

In addition, OPAP currently works with various organisations in the country. These include both the Cyprus Sports Organisation and the Cyprus Olympic Committee.

“Significant” benefit for Cyprus 

Cyprus’ minister of finance, Makis Keraynos, welcomed the agreement, saying it will ensure “significant” revenue for the national budget.

Keraynos also spoke of how the exclusivity of the concession will help protect players from gambling harm. OPAP will be the only operator approved to offer games of chance in Cyprus, with all other operators deemed illegal.

Kamil Ziegler, executive chairman of OPAP and president of OPAP Cyprus, added: “We are particularly happy to have signed the new 15-year concession with the Republic of Cyprus. 

“As a group, we have been active in Cyprus for 55 years. We have been providing popular games and engaging experiences to our customers, supporting common goals and implementing social initiatives with significant impact. 

“Our commitment is that we will continue on the same path.”

Revenue up 4.2% at OPAP in Q1

The concession and new licence come on the back of a successful Q1 for OPAP. During the first three months of the year, revenue increased 4.2% to €549.7m. 

OPAP did not reference Cyprus directly in its Q1 report. However, it did detail higher revenue across three of its five core segments. The stand-out highlight was growth in online casino revenue with this up 29.1% to €12.9m. Lottery and video lottery terminal (VLT) revenue was also higher, but there were declines in betting and instant and passives revenue.

However, accompanying the rise in revenue was an 18.6% increase in operating costs. This left a pre-tax profit of €155.7m, down 3.4% year-on-year. 

OPAP paid €39.9m in income tax, meaning a Q1 net profit of €115.8m, a drop of 4.0% from €120.6m in 2023.

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