Greece Gambling Monopoly Declared Illegal

The gambling monopoly in Greece, owned by OPAP SA, has been ruled illegal by the European Union’s highest court, dealing a blow to Opap’s stock price in the process. Opap’s price fell 10% after the ruling.

European law prevent countries from giving exclusive gambling rights to a single company, unless the authorities are genuinely reducing access to gambling and controlling expansion of the sector to combat criminality. The decision comes on the heals of three similar rulings dealing with monopolies in Italy, Germany, and Austria.

The court made three key rulings in this case:

1. Articles 43 EC and 49 EC must be interpreted as precluding national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which grants the exclusive right to run, manage, organise and operate games of chance to a single entity, where, firstly, that legislation does not genuinely meet the concern to reduce opportunities for gambling and to limit activities in that domain in a consistent and systematic manner and, secondly, where strict control by the public authorities of the expansion of the sector of games of chance, solely in so far as is necessary to combat criminality linked to those games, is not ensured. It is for the national court to ascertain whether this is the case.

2. In the event that the national legislation governing the organisation of games of chance is incompatible with the Treaty provisions on the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment, the national authorities may not refrain from considering applications, such as those at issue in the main proceedings, for permission to operate in the sector of games of chance, during a transitional period.

3. In circumstances such as those of the main proceedings, the competent national authorities may examine applications for permission to organise games of chance submitted to them according to the level of consumer protection and the preservation of order in society that they intend to uphold solely on the basis of objective, non-discriminatory criteria.

Sports Betting: 49ers Remain Favored by 3.5 as ESPN’s Mortenson Discusses the Game


The early rush of money on Baltimore quickly dropped the opening line from San Francisco -5 to -3.5, but the lines seem to have solidified as early bettors shift focus to the Super Bowl props expected to be released this week. Chris Mortenson had his weekly chat on and made this early prediction in the game:

“I see a 24-20 or maybe a 27-20 score and I’d favor the 49ers. I think the NFC has been the superior conference all year but the Ravens do show signs of being that “hot” team on a roll with a lot of injured players coming back, an offensive line that suddenly has become almost impenetrable  and a hot quarterback in Joe Flacco. I just think the 49ers’ roster is stronger and it doesn’t look like Colin Kaepernick is going to be intimidated by the big-game atmosphere.”

Mort was then asked about the recent allegations by Tim Brown that Raiders head coach Bill Callahan deliberately lost the Super Bowl ten years ago because of his dislike of Al Davis.

“The allegations are ridiculous on this level – it’s one thing for a game plan to change late in the week. That was already out there. But to allege that it was a sabotage and that Callahan despised Al Davis and the Raiders so much that he would hand a legacy opportunity over to a friend in Jon Gruden is as insulting to one’s intelligence as I can imagine. The Raiders threw the ball something like 44 times – they threw it 41 in the AFC title game. Gannon had a poor game. Callahan had a poor game. I saw Tim Brown drop at least one pass – did he throw the game? No, the Bucs were the better team that day. Period.”

When asked about the young quarterbacks who will start in the Super Bowl, Mortenson had high praise for both.

“We may be getting an early glimpse of a young great QB in Colin Kaepernick and a QB with unique skills hitting his prime in Joe Flacco. One thing that is evident – it takes a “team” to reach the Super Bowl and the QB generally has unique physical talent. These guys, Flacco and Kaepernick, are very gifted.”

He was also surprised by Kaepernick in last week’s game against Atlanta.

“Kaepernick was much more poised than he had been in some previous road games down the stretch. His accuracy has been terrific and that’s not a total surprise. His arm strength was well documented coming into the league He still does not throw with great trajectory on some passes but Harbaugh has tailored the offense and passing game to fit Kap’s own unique talent – that’s coaching.”

The NFL: Chip Kelly Talks Eagles Football


After a long run of success in Oregon, Chip Kelly now takes his coaching skills to the NFL as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. In an interview with Angelo Cataldi of WIP in Philadelphia, Kelly describes his philosophy towards the game and what Eagles fans will see in 2013.

“I’ve always believed it is the quintessential team sport,” Kelly said. “There’s so many different players and you have to have so many different players. Unlike basketball, where you have one dominant player and kind surround him with four guys, you got a shot. In football, you got a 46-man roster; you need all 46 guys. It’s everybody moving in the right direction, and that part I love. The other thing I’ve always said, you get out of football exactly what you put into it. You can’t fake this sport. It’s a sport that you can have a kid that’s 5-foot-7, you can have someone that’s 6-foot-7, but if they put their time in and they’ve got a little bit of a skill set, they’re going to find something out of it.

“I want our players to operate, from a desire to excel, not a fear of failure. If you’re going to be a guy that’s afraid, that’s not how I live my life, that’s not how I’m going to be. I’ve heard that coming to Philly, ‘Oh my God, Chip, their fans have high expectations; that’s a tough place to win.’ Well, the people in Philly think the same way I think: They want to win and they don’t care. We want to take any challenge on; we want to play anybody. We got an unbelievable division — gotta go play the Giants twice, gotta go play the Cowboys twice, gotta go play the Redskins twice. You’ve got to embrace that. You’ve go to be excited about that, and this city is filled with people like that and I’m just happy to be here, but I’m always going to be a guy that’s going to go for it, because you can’t stand there with a bat on your shoulder and take a called third strike. We may miss, but we’re swinging. And we’re going to swing from our ankles.”

Kelly then discusses what he is looking for in a quarterback. “You have to be a great decision-maker. Our job as a coaching staff is to then put you in a position where you can do that,” he said. Some of the decisions may be all throw-decisions, if that’s where your strengths are. I’m not tied to one type of quarterback. If you have an opportunity to coach somebody — Tommy Brady — you tailor your offense to him. If you’ve got a Peyton Manning, you tailor your offense to Peyton Manning. If you’ve got a more athletic guy that has a chance to beat you with his feet, then you tailor your offense to him. The biggest thing in any quarterback has always been having a decision-maker and having a quick mind and being able to diagnose things at a very rapid rate and make sure the ball is getting in the hands of our playmakers.”

Still to be determined is the fate of Michael Vick, who is due a $3 million roster bonus if he is still with the Eagles on February 6th.


Rats Jumping Ship: Marketing Man Quits EZ Street Sportsbook


Fallout continues as the BetIslands debacle continues to echo through Costa Rica sportsbooks and BetIslands closed up shop in December, taking $1.5 million in deposits with them. BetIslands employees, just days after soliciting deposits for that bankrupt, quickly moved on to  7Red and EZ Street.

Solid rumors have circulated among Costa Rican sportsbooks that BetIslands, 7Red and Ez Street are all connected. Pouring salt into the wounds, EZ Street offered what was called a “bailout package” that in actuallity was simply a generous bonus offer requiring a significant deposit to collect.. This offer was made only to select losing players. Winners weren’t welcome.s the BetIslands debacle continues to echo through Costa Rica sportsbooks and BetIslands closed up shop in December, taking $1.5 million in deposits with them. BetIslands employees, just days after soliciting deposits for that bankrupt, quickly moved on to 7Red and EZ Street.

Feedback to these events have been overwhelmingly negative. EZStreet Pete, marketing liason to various internet forums, had enough. He resigned from EZ Street, kicking and screaming on his way out the door. His final note, posted at the Rx Forum:

I joined up with good folks who do the right thing – I saw it myself week after week… and yet I have to read lies, inuendos, fantasy concoctions, etc about my company and nothing that anyone can say (much less do) ever seems to have the same impact to the general customer population of customers for sports books like EZStreet. Lies and rumors win out over the truth. How can this be?

Yet folks will go to some site like SBR and buy into the BS and deposit at clown shows like BetIslands turned out to be and then do everything they can to twist situations into making EZStreet look like they are the bad guys for trying to help out legitimate players who got burned at BI.

Go Figure…

So anyways, I apologize for my rant but it breaks my heart when I saw the looks on a few folks faces when they had to deal with BS calls and e-mails where instead of being viewed as the actual good guys I saw on a daily basis do over and over and over the rightest things get treated the way they got treated the last several weeks.”

Left unsaid was any concern to the hundreds of bettors who had thousands of dollars stolen from them by people now working side by side with Pete.



Have a tip? Email

Stations Casino’s Green Valley Ranch Sportsbook Playing Games with its Customers


Some Las Vegas sportsbooks are acting shady to avoid action on some games. One gambler at Roughing the Punter, a forum focusing on the sports betting scene, details the behavior at the Green Valley Ranch Sportsbook, affiliated with Stations Casino.

“There was a game a week or two ago where there was some news on Golden State Warriors and a female person bet them at -3 for $2,200/$2000,” the gambler said. However, ten minutes later, that ticket was voided. “The line steamed to 4.5 and some 5s. She stayed in the book and they found her after she had purchased the ticket and said they were voiding the whole ticket because it was a circled game and they weren’t allowed to give her more than $1,100 on it.”

After some discussion, Green Valley let her have a new ticket risking $1,100 to win $1000 at her originial -3 line. However, claims the bettor, “recall that this is 10 minutes after they put her money in the drawer AND this is after the line moved significantly. Had the line moved the other way would they have voided this ticket? Somehow doubt it.”

Another incident took place with Stations Casino two days ago. A man bet $500 on an NBA game and another $500 on the first half of that same game. He eventually repeated the same bets, risking in total $1100 for the game and $1100 for the first half.

His account then gets locked out. He is unable to log in and see his pending bets as well as his entire account history.

After the bet wins, the gambler goes to Green Valley sports book to find out what happened with his account. Green Valley says they cancelled the bets since he bet the same game twice. His bet was refunded, but he was out his winnings.

The bettor states, “It’s hard to say if this is localized to the Green Valley sportsbook or if it’s a Stations casino thing but they seem like they want the best of all worlds. They want the suckers. They want to bar the pros. But before barring the pros, they want to cheat them out of money at the last minute when they’re defenseless. Stations locks the account so only they have access to the records and they can manipulate them as they see fit and cancel bets as they see fit..

“Normally we would think Station Casinos would have more integrity than an illegal bookie, but it ain’t even close. Stations are common thieves without a hint of integrity.”

Have a tip? Email

Arizona’s Upton Blocks Trade to Seattle


Arizona Diamondbacks Justin Upton likes it just fine in Arizona. According to various news reports, the outfielder used the no-trade clause in his contract to block a proposed trade to the Seattle Mariners.

Upton’s decision was first reported by and confirmed by the Arizona Republic.  Seattle was ready to give up a “substantial package” in exchange for the outfielder. Rumored to have been included in the deal are relievers Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor, minor-league shortstop Nick Franklin and, one of three minor-league starting pitching prospects: Right-hander Taijuan Walker, lefty James Paxton or lefty Danny Hultzen.

Arizona general manager Kevin Towers has had Upton on the block throughout the offseason. Upton, 25, is a two-time All-Star and finished fourth in the National League MVP balloting in 2011.

Seattle ranked last in the American League in runs scored and team OPS last year, and general manager Jack Zduriencik has made upgrading the offense a priority this off-season. He acquired Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez via free agency and obtained Kendrys Morales in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels.

Unfortunately for the Mariners, they were one of four clubs on Upton’s no-trade list. The Rangers and Braves are also said to be pursuing Upton, with both teams loaded talented prospects that could make a deal amenable if the Diamondbacks are willing to pull the trigger.

Upton is signed through the 2015 season, after which he will become a free agent. He will earn $9.75 million this season, $14.25 million in 2014, and $14.5 million in 2015.