Italian Scratch Card Tender in Doubt Following Single Bid

13th October 2009 8:08 am GMT

Following the decision by Intralot, Sisal and Snai not to take part in the bidding process for up to four new Italian scratch card concessions, incumbent Lottomatica remains as the only participant left in the tender, after submitting a bid yesterday as part of a consortium including Scientific Games Corporation.

Italy's regulatory authority, Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS), had launched the bidding process for the tender in August of this year, with expectations of bids from Italy's Lottomatica, Snai and Sisal, as well as Greece's Intralot.

The deadline for the bids closed yesterday with only Lottomatica filing a proposal for the tender. Lottomatica's current concession expires next May.

Snai, Sisal and Intralot all withdrew from the tender on Monday after criticizing the terms of the concession, which includes an €800 million upfront payment to be shared between winning concession holders.

Intralot told Reuters that it had not bid for the tender, as the company decided instead to switch its focus to investment in video lottery terminals which offer higher returns.

Snai said that it had asked for an extension in order to arrange financial cover but that its request was declined by AAMS. The company had planned to link up with the Italian post office in a consortium bid.

Sisal also said that the terms of the concession were too difficult and that it has filed a court appeal to annul the tender and its terms, according to news reports.

Italy's AAMS is expected to comment on the tender Thursday. It is not known at this point whether the tender will re-run with new conditions.

Meanwhile Italy's antitrust watchdog has said that it will close part of its inquiry into Sisal surrounding online access to the company's SuperEnalotto game. Sisal was suspected of stopping competitors from getting online to seek clients among SuperEnalotto players.

In a brief statement Monday, the antitrust authority said that the closure of part of the inquiry came in response to the adoption of precautionary measures taken by Sisal to ensure access for other operators to Sisal's online network for the game.

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