OPAP offers in play betting

Fixed odds game Stihima could offer a new dynamic next year

The Greek gambling monopoly OPAP, arguably Europe's largest betting firm, is considering the introduction of in-play betting on its fixed-odds Stihima game next year, its CEO Christos Hadjiemmanuil told an analysts' conference on Wednesday.

According to a Reuters news agency report, Hadjiemmanuil said his company may offer in-play betting by the second-quarter of 2010 to take advantage of increased betting activity during the World Soccer Cup.

"By the time of the World Cup, Stihima will not be played in the manner it is played now," Hadjiemmanuil said. "Our intention is to eventually improve and enrich the product."

Earlier this week, OPAP reported a 12 percent drop in net profit as competition from online bookie companies hurt sales.

Stihima, which is OPAP's major sports betting game, has experienced strong growth in recent years but is now facing stiff competition from foreign Internet bookmakers, despite OPAP claims that online betting is illegal in Greece (see previous InfoPowa reports).

The firm would also offer higher odds on major events on Stihima, in yet another move to fight off online bookmakers, Hadjiemmanuil said.

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