Although Greek lottery and gambling operator OPAP posted record online gambling revenue during the second quarter of this year, it was unable to offset the company’s financial decline caused by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to OPEC’s report released on thursday, the company produced gross gaming revenue of € 179.6 million in the three months ending June 30. This represented a decrease of 53.2% compared to the same period in 2019.
During the second quarter, net gaming revenue decreased 54.4% to € 118 million, while profits plunged 81.7% to € 16.2 million. The company reported a net loss of € 15.1 million compared to a profit of € 34.6 million obtained in the second quarter of last year.
From mid-march, OPAP had to shut down its retail operations, including its profitable network of video lottery terminals (VLTs). The operator predicted that would translate into an overall revenue decline of 99%.
It was not until early June that the company’s retail operations were resumed, which could improve the company’s balance sheet because otherwise the results for the period would have been worse.
The revenue drop in the main lottery division was 45% to € 103 million. Had it not been for the new online version of the Tzoker (Joker) product that the operator activated, the financial situation of the company would have worsened as well.
Product continued to grow even after retail stores reopened. A series of jackpots also helped.
In the sports betting sector, revenue fell 55% to € 40.4 million as most of the major sports came to a standstill with the pandemic in full swing. Now live bets represent 49% of total bets.
The bets with participation of the self-service betting terminals served with Playtech technology during the second quarter, have seen an increase of close to five points year-on-year to 23.4%.
Among the most affected sectors was VLT with a drop in revenue of 69.3% to € 21.8 million. VLTs came into play again in early June, although the operator claims that the VLT segment “quickly recovered to a double-digit growth rate.”
Also in the second quarter, OPAP’s internal online revenue quadrupled to € 10 million from the same period in 2019 and more than doubled compared to the first quarter of this year.
The forecasts of the online division of the operator is that this growth will continue after the pandemic has been overcome, after the signing of an agreement in august for the acquisition of a greater stake in the Stoiximan Group’s operations in Greece and Cyprus.
OPAP CEO Jan Karas highlighted the company’s performance in generating “cash even in the toughest times.” While he expects “additional obstacles on the road to recovery,” Karas is confident that the company will be able to overcome those challenges.
In Greece, the process of regulating online gambling is nearing completion. In august, the Hellenic Gaming Commission (HGC) provided details related to the letters of guarantee that online operators must submit to obtain a gaming license.
Likewise, the HGC opened a public consultation related to the rules that will be imposed on operators to store customer data. It is expected that before the end of the year the Greek regulator will have begun to issue licenses.