Friday, 22 October 2021 12:18

Decision 752/2021

Decision on the late notification of concentration under ref. no. 10862/18.12.2020, pursuant to art. 6 (4) of L. 3959/2011, concerning the acquisition by «OPAP SA» of sole control over the Greek and Cypriot activities of Kaizen Gaming International Ltd (former GML Interactive Malta Ltd.) (Gun jumping)

Decision 752/2021
File (PDF) Decision 752/2021
Date of Issuance of Decision October 22nd, 2021
Issue Number of Government Gazette 
Relevant Market
  • Conduct of the gaming activities STOIXIMA, PROPO, PROPOGOAL, BASKETBALL GAME PREDICTIONS, TEAM SPORTS PREDICTIONS, JOKER, LOTTO, PROTO, BINGO LOTTO, KINO, 5 from 35, SUPER 3 and SUPER 4
  • Operation of video lottery terminals
  • State Lotteries (LAIKO, ETHNIKO, KRATIKO and SCRATCH)
  • Οrganisation and operation of horse races, organization and operation of horse-race betting and related activities
  • Online sports betting (PAME STOIXIMA)
  • Οnline gambling and online betting.
Subject of the Decision Decision on the late notification of concentration under ref. no. 10862/18.12.2020, pursuant to art. 6 (4) of L. 3959/2011, concerning the acquisition by «OPAP SA» of sole control over the Greek and Cypriot activities of Kaizen Gaming International Ltd (former GML Interactive Malta Ltd.) (Gun jumping)
Legal Framework Article 6 L. 3959/2011
Operative part of the Decision

The HCC unanimously decides on the following: 

  1. To establish the late notification of the concentration concerning the acquisition of exclusive control by the company OPAP SA over STOIXIMAN BUSINESS, in breach of article 6 par. 1 of Law 3959/2011.
  2. To impose a fine of five hundred thousand euros (€500,000) on OPAP SA, as an entity subject to the notification obligation, in accordance with the provisions of article 6 paragraph 4 of Law3959/2011.
Company(ies) concerned
  1. OPAP Football Prognostics S.A. (OPAP S.A.)
  2. Kaizen Gaming International Ltd (former GML Interactive Malta Ltd.)
Summary of Decision

The HCC, considering all the information of the case file, the information arising during the course of the Commission's meeting held on the 9th of June 2021 and OPAP’s written statements, decides as follows: establishes that the notification of the concentration concerning the acquisition of exclusive control by the company OPAP SA over STOIXIMAN BUSINESS was out of time, in breach of article 6 par. 1 of Law 3959/2011, and  imposes a fine of five hundred thousand euros (€500,000) on OPAP SA, as an entity subject to the notification obligation, in accordance with the provisions of article 6 (4)(a) of Law3959/2011 and as defined in Article 10 of the same law.

Regarding the duration of the infringement, as defined in the above unanimous Decision, the HCC considers that the relevant Notification Form should have been submitted to the Authority no later than May 18, 2020. Instead, the concentration was notified with delay to the HCC on December 18, 2020, namely within two hundred and forty-five (245) days from the conclusion of the Framework Agreement, thus exceeding by two hundred and fourteen (214) days the statutory time-limits for the timely submission of the notification.

By the same unanimous decision, the HCC considers that, regarding the gravity of the above infringement and the calculation of the amount of the fine to be imposed, it should first be noted that:

the acquirer is a very large company, by Greek standards, with a significant economic standing, while its power in the majority of the markets in which it operates is very high, as it holds a super-dominant position in most markets, while

STOIXIMAN BUSINESS also has significant economic power and an established position (placed first) in the horizontally affected relevant market of online sports betting.

However, according to the HCC’s Decision and in light of the evidence in the case file, it does not appear that

a) the infringement found with regard to late notification has been intentional;

b) it does not appear that the infringement found with regard to late notification had as its object or effect to circumvent the effective control of the merger by the HCC, as OPAP SA notified the concentration to the HCC untimely, but on its own initiative;

c) the estimated effect of the merger on competition is negligible, meaning that it does not raise serious concerns as to its ability to significantly restrict competition in the relevant markets concerned, given that it concerns a change in the quality of control and namely the acquisition of sole control by a company that already had joint control over STOIXIMAN BUSINESSand

d) the acquirer cooperated sufficiently with the HCC responding immediately and fully, to a large extent, to every request for information.

1 See also, in this regard, the Statement of Objections under ref. no. 1787/25.02.2021 by the Rapporteur Panagiotis Fotis and the relevant Press Release at https://www.epant.gr/en/enimerosi/press-releases/item/1320-press-release-clearance-of-proposed-acquisition-by-opap-sa.html.

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Decisions by the Administrative Court of Court of Appeal of Athens -
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