At first glance, it appeared the Greece financial crisis had dipped into the country’s lottery network. Instead, the Greek company that operates the nation’s lottery implemented what one analyst called “a hard-nosed negotiation tactic” to extract more favorable contract terms after Greece’s Hellenic Gaming Commission announced new lottery industry regulations.
But the move hits the bottom lines of Nevada’s two largest slot machine manufacturers, costing Scientific Games Corp., and International Game Technology millions of dollars in revenue and cash flow.
“These were sizable business opportunities for both IGT and Scientific Games,” said Eilers Research principal Todd Eilers.
Ultimately, Eilers expects OPAP — the Greek company that operates the country’s network of slot machinelike video lottery terminals — will reach an understanding with regulators, given the country’s need for tax revenue amid its financial crisis.
Union Gaming Group analyst Christopher Jones blamed the Greek government for changing the rules around the VLT deployment just days before the games were to be launched.
“Given the ongoing uncertainty around the future of Greece, let alone the standing government of Greece, it stands to reason that the near term outlook for the Greek video lottery terminal market is now in question,” Jones said.
OPAP suspended the deployment of some 16,500 lottery terminals countrywide after Greek lottery regulators lowered jackpot levels, instituted daily loss limits, and reduced the amount of time gamblers can play a machine.
Eilers said the new regulations “were much more restrictive than previously outlined.”
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