During the first quarter of the year, the earnings of the Greek lottery and betting operator OPAP fell about 40%, due to the closure of games on land caused by the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
According to the earnings report released this week, the company’s gross gaming revenue OPAP totaled € 328.3 million in the first three months of the year. This represents a decrease of 17.1% compared to the same period in 2019.
Earnings were also down 23.6% (€ 86.4 million), while net earnings fell 37.8% (€ 33.8 million).
Although the company had already announced that the pandemic halted its operations in Cyprus and Greece by 99%, since mid-March. The online gambling site that was just getting started didn’t lose the financial burden by canceling major sports.
Jan Karas, interim CEO of the company said the period had been “a double quarter” because everything was going well until the pandemic appeared. Karas, who has been in charge of Damian Cope since June 1 last year, thanked the company’s staff for their “quick adaptation to the new standard and working conditions.” He also highlighted the resilience of employees to the crisis.
On the other hand, revenue from the main lottery division saw a 19.4% (€ 154.5m) drop in the first quarter. However, it had decreased by only 0.8% during the period prior to closing. Betting revenue also fell 13.5% (€ 88 million), although it increased 3.2% before closing.
As for the segment of the video lottery terminal (VLT), it have had an excellent performance. During the period it fell just 3.4% (€ 66.6m), but before the blockade it had an increase of 21.5%. The best result was the Instant and Passive lottery segment which fell 43% in just € 19.2 million.
In the first quarter, Pamestoixima, the betting site for OPAP, virtual games and casino. Also, the online version of the Tzoker (Joker) lottery product “effectively affected its penetration, active users, and revenue figures” during the crash.
Online revenue immediately rose a staggering 166% in the next 14 weeks after the crash. The increase in active online players was 201%. If it manage to keep growth online as the shutdown slows down it will be a total success.
Since May 11, OPAP betting shops, as well as lottery sales, have been authorized to resume operations. However, gamblers were not allowed on the premises to play electronic games, including Kino. From June 6 such restrictions were lifted.
On June 8, OPAP’s VLT operations were also authorized for betting shops to resume operations along with PLAY gambling halls in Cyprus and Greece.
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