Gambling in Greece hasn’t been an exactly straightforward affair. For starters, the country’s been tinkering with its monopolistic laws, conceding to actually let other operators run their businesses. But there has been a big BUT. Let’s begin with the fact that casinos will be taxed at 35% of their operational results. That’s steep and borderline dangerous for any business. Why then is OPAP acquiring more gambling assets? Well, being a state-owned gambling operator is one of the reasons.
The Largest Gambling Operator Carries On
Greek gambling giant OPAP has announced that it’s buying up a 36.75% stake in TCB Holdings, the company that owns Stoiximan Group. With the latest acquisition which reportedly costs $58 million, although this number is likely to change time and again as negotiations continue, OPAP is trying to break the digital frontier and lodge its own foot in there firmly.
Why precisely digital, though? Simple. TCB is an online gaming operator which has been running its digital facilities in both Greece and Cyprus through its daughter company, Stoiximan. The targeted markets where Stoiximan conducts business are in fact also the core audiences for OPAP. By consolidating its presence in the sector and gradually acquiring one of the most important rival businesses, the company is sending a clear message that it’s on its way to establish itself as the dominant casino operator.
Growth Opportunities Abound
OPAP is clearly determined to expand. With this in mind, the stake purchase in TCB is indeed a stroke of brilliance, allowing the company to truly benefit from the strong growth potential of TCB, which is also present in Germany and Romania.
Officially, OPAP has said that it would seek to run Stoiximan businesses in both markets while simplifying the conditions necessary to operate gambling dens in the country. The matter of taxation is not unfamiliar for OPAP, too. The operator had to pay 75 million back in 2016, and this number has been growing.
However, the industry has been expanding as well, providing OPAP with fresh opportunities to benefit from that by adding more new customers and consolidating the stakes it already owns.
Looking at Stoiximan’s results, the company managed to rake in around $160 million and $19 million of that was EBITDA. Stoiximan and OPAP are both established leaders and they will definitely love to benefit from the synergies that stem from bringing their businesses closer together. More specifically, the investments are complementary and C-level executives of both companies see this move as an opportunity to build a world-class operator.
My Big, Greek Business
Greece still has a lot to overcome in terms of legal hurdles. Running a gambling den in the country is most definitely not easy and it requires careful consideration, especially now that laws are changing. Even though the state monopoly is going to be written off, much of this attitude lingers.
In other words, casinos and their business are perceived as golden ducks – a source of income for the somewhat emptier coffers of the Greece state which has undergone one of its severest crises just recently. The country has been recuperating. Now, it should let its gambling casinos prosper for the good of all.