The General Court of the European Union has ruled that Greece’s decision to award gambling monopoly OPAP with the exclusive right to operate 35,000 video lottery terminals (VLTs) and thirteen games of chance did not constitute state aid, backing an earlier decision by the European Commission.

The case relates to the notification by the Greek government to the Commission in 2011 over two measures in favour of OPAP – an exclusive €560m licence to operate 35,000 VLTs for a period of ten years and a ten-year extension (from 2020 to 2030) to the exclusive rights to operate thirteen games of chance, pursuant to an addendum to an agreement concluded in 2000.

In April 2012, several casino operators (including Club Hotel Loutraki) in Greece filed a complaint with the Commission on the grounds that the VLT agreement entailed the grant to OPAP of state aid incompatible with the internal market.

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