OPAP has completed one of the largest and most demanding VLTs (Video Lottery Terminals) installation projects worldwide. Starting the investment in January 2017, the Organization now has in full operation 25 thousand slot machines which were installed by the end of 2019, as provided for in the relevant contract with the Greek State.
The completion of the investment for the VLTs network is another milestone for OPAP, as the gaming machine activity is expected to be one of the main sources of income in the coming years, with the aim of establishing the Organization as a world-class entertainment and gaming company. .
The development of the VLTs network was one of the largest investments in the history of OPAP. In the Investor Day organized by OPAP almost a year ago, Vaios Qarantinos, COO - PLAY Games, had talked about an investment of 900 million euros in total, including the cost of obtaining the license, costs for stores, etc., amount which is estimated to have moved even higher.
At the same time, the investment created new jobs, which will gradually exceed 5.000, including those related to additional activities in various sectors (services, supplies, construction, etc.) for the operation and development of the Play OPAP network. Significant benefits are also expected for public funds, as from the operation of gaming machines tax revenues are expected to exceed 200 million in the coming years.
The contribution to the GGR is going up
2020 will be the year that for the first time the total of 25.000 slot machines will operate all days of the year. However, the "maturation" of the machines is not simultaneous due to the different timing of their installation and operation.
Already, however, the financial results of the Group show that quarter by quarter the percentage of GGR coming from VLTs is growing steadily, as is the number of registered and active customers. According to published data of OPAP, at the end of 2018 the activity of VLTS reached 16% of the GGR of OPAP. This percentage has already risen to 19% in the third quarter of 2019 and is expected to be significantly higher for the current year and, of course, for the next ones, as the investment matures.
Based on the latest published data, at the end of the third quarter of 2019, the registered customer base of VLTs amounted to 393 thousand, while the daily GGR per machine was set at 43 euros. In total in the nine months of 2019, revenues from the activity of VLTs were increased by 52% compared to the corresponding period last year, reaching 212 million euros, from 140 million euros. It is noted that in the third quarter the net income before contributions from VLTs had reached the highest level to date for OPAP (72,8 million).
At the end of last September, OPAP had fully installed 20.932 VLTs in 369 Play Gaming Halls stores and 2.022 OPAP agencies. With a total of 25.000 fully installed, Today, about 15.000 of them operate in Play stores and 10.000 in OPAP agencies.
It is recalled that in 2011 OPAP paid to the Greek State 560 million euros for the license of a total of 35 thousand gaming machines (16.500 through OPAP network and the remaining 18.500 from concessionaires, after an international tender). In June 2015, the then management of the Gaming Commission abruptly changed the Rules of Operation of the VLTs, imposing significant restrictions, which led OPAP to decide to suspend the project and to appeal to international courts for damages of 1,3 billion euros.
In November 2016, a new Regulation was issued that lifted the restrictions, with OPAP subsequently withdrawing from arbitration. In 2017, with a modification of the legal framework, the number of machines that would operate was reduced to 25.000, with a parallel increase in the number of VLTs would operate in Play stores (up to 50) and agencies ((up to 15), while the right was extended to 18 years, from 10 previously, as compensation for the reduction in the number of VLTs.
The modifications were intended to make a smaller number of slot machines work in far fewer locations, which was judged to be to the benefit of consumers (players), vulnerable social groups and to more effective control. The exclusive operating license of 25.000 slot machines (VLTs) in Greece expires in 2035.
source: capital.gr / Nikos Chrysikopoulos