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Online Gambling News from Germany, Denmark and Greece

By: Fabian Rictor, Monday October 24th 2011
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The German state of Schleswig Holstein had decided to break away from the other states and pursue its independent path from 2012 once the existing common gambling treaty expired. It has now demonstrated its resolve to do so by announcing its schedule of license fees ahead of accepting new license applications in January 2012. Licensees will have to pay around €15,000 upfront. The annual fees will vary from €15,000 to €150,000 depending on turnover. This proposal will have to undergo a ratification process, which is slated for later in October. However, sources within the state administration have indicated that already leading European online gambling operators have shown considerable interest in the proposal.

Denmark has been one step ahead of the German state of Schleswig Holstein. The Danish licensing authority has revealed that there has been an outstanding response to its offer made to online gambling operators. They said that this response has come despite criticism from some quarters that the requirements were stiff and tax rates high. 43 online gambling companies have so far submitted applications for 68 licenses. The Danish Gambling Authority clarified that there had been 25 applications for online casino and sports betting licenses and 22 applications for dedicated online casino licenses. The Denmark online gambling market is expected to open in January 2012.

Meanwhile the news from Greece is not good, though perhaps on expected lines. After getting €850 million as license fees from the Greek gambling monopoly OPAP, the government has deferred the sale of its share in OPAP. The sale of the government's 34% stake in OPAP was initially planned for the fourth quarter of 2011 in an effort to relieve its massive national deficit as committed to the body of European and global lenders. Top privatization officials in the government announced that the sale will take place next year. The spokesperson declined to give any reason for the deferment. The reason, however, could be that the OPAP shares have lost 53% of their value in the last six months, in line with the Greek stock market's sharp decline. A sale of its shares of OPAP would fetch only about half of the estimated value.

However, some of the other gambling institutions are expected to be sold. Costas Mitropoulos, CEO of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRAF), told the Reuters news agency in an interview, that a public tender for the state lottery is expected to be announced this month. It is expected to raise €1.7 billion. He added, "Possibly by the end of the year we will tender the horse-racing and betting organization ODIE." In all the Greek government has to raise € 50 billion by 2015 from selling state assets and cutting government costs. The sale of OPAP is crucial to achieving this target.

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