OTE Group dismisses Intralot acquisition rumours

24 October 2019

Greek telecommunications giant OTE Group has denied local media reports that it is considering an acquisition bid for Intralot, though it has confirmed plans to partner the lottery and gaming solutions giant to apply for an online betting licence in the market.

OTE responded to a Hellenic Capital Market Commission request for clarification about its relationship with Intralot after various reports in the Greek media said the telco was mulling over a possible bid for the supplier.

It said it has “no intention, discussion, or decision in this direction”, and that its relationship with Intralot is focused on the pursuit of a new online betting licence.

The telco and Intralot will form a new entity that, majority-controlled by OTE, will apply for a Greek licence. OTE said that venture was first approved during a shareholder meeting in June of last year, and its board of directors has now also signed off on the initiative.

OTE noted that a final decision regarding its entry into the online betting market is contingent on the Greek Parliament approving new gambling regulations in the country.

Greece is in the midst of regulatory reform, with the government this month debating a series of reforms to the current framework in the country, including continuing the permission of Random Number Generator (RNG) games and the lowering of the country’s licence fee from €5m (£4.3m/$5.7m) to €3m.

This will also see a 20% corporation tax applied before the 35% levy on gross gaming revenue, rather than after.

Last month, Intralot revealed a 7.6% year-on-year drop in reported consolidated revenue for the first half of 2019, primarily due to declines within its B2C arm, specifically in the Argentina and Bulgaria markets.

Intralot in July agreed to sell its stake in the Hellenic Lotteries business for a total cost of €20m to the lottery's majority sharholder OPAP.

However, OPAP has since had its sports betting licence revoked by the Greek Council of State.

The court upheld Austrian operator Goalbet’s challenge against the Hellenic Gaming Commission’s (EEEP) decision to allow OPAP to launch online betting brand Pame Stoixima. OPAP intends to appeal the decision.