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.”