September 13, 2017 / 2:08 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Bill to extend OPAP's licence offsets cut to video lottery machines

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ATHENS, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Greece-based OPAP said the adverse impact from a draft government bill cutting the number of video lottery machines allowed to operate in the country will be offset by a plan to extend its betting licence.

“The revised terms will have a neutral effect for OPAP,” Chief Executive Officer Damian Cope told a conference call with analysts on Wednesday.

Under its current contract with the government, Europe’s fifth largest betting firm would operate 16,000 machines and subcontract another 18,000, expanding into a new business which is seen as a key growth driver for the firm.

The Greek government tabled a draft bill in August reducing the number of machines to be deployed to 25,000 from 35,000 by the end of 2019, aiming at smaller exposure to gambling and a more effective supervision by authorities.

The bill also extends OPAP’s licence by eight years and says the firm will not have to subcontract any of the machines.

OPAP introduced the new machines earlier this year. It now operates more than 5,000 machines and plans to have a total of 10,000 machines in place by the end of the year, Cope added. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Karolina Tagaris and Louise Heavens)

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