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Πέμπτη, 4 Ιουνίου 2015

Greek Horseracing: A ‘sleeping giant’ or a dying sport?

After the privatization – for twenty years – of the horse betting license in Greece, new hope rises for the ‘sport of kings’


An extremely difficult case, a major ‘experiment in process’ is what happens from now on in Greek horseracing business – Meanwhile, OPAP needs to try very hard to restore things in the middle of huge economic crisis


by Serafeim P. Panagiotakis

Greek Horseracing: A new era for the sport
One of the most important incidents in recent history of Greek Horseracing industry took place recently, while Greek Government has completed successfully the privatization of horse betting license in Greece for twenty years. OPAP, the biggest betting company in Greece at present, won the contest and is about to take over next September. Meanwhile, the former Horseracing Organization (ODIE) is going to close permanently during summer.

This fact created high expectations among people in horseracing business, but it’s more than obvious that dramatic reduction of gambling revenues and decrease of the popularity of horseracing in the country are not so easy problems to solve and restoration of those things can’t be done ‘out of the blue’. Without specified plan, without national strategic nothing ‘big’ has to be expected. On the contrary, the main reasons – except economic crisis that has struck Greece the past years - that brought horseracing business into its bad situation are still there and nothing has been done about
for the time being. Old Rules and patterns, liability issues, low profit from horseracing betting, these problems forced out the majority of fans. If there is any hope for Greek Horseracing to recover, these are the most important - high priority - issues that must be dealt with, otherwise an upcoming disaster is about to happen…
Serafeim P. Panagiotakis

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