Monday, 25 October 2021 10:44

Press Release - Statement of Objections concerning submitted complaints against «OPAP SA»

Subject: Statement of Objections concerning submitted complaints against «OPAP SA» regarding infringements of articles 1 and of Law No 3959/2011 and articles 101 & 102 TFEU

The Plenary of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) will convene on December 7th, 2021, to examine, based on the relevant Statement of Objections (SO) by the Rapporteur, the submitted complaints by the Association of Professional Betting Agents (SEPPP) and sixty five (65) former OPAP agents against «OPAP SA» with regard to infringements of articles 1 and 2 of Law No 3959/2011 as well as articles 101 & 102 TFEU.

The case under scrutiny concerns the relevant product markets of offline betting services, payment services associated with the payment of utility bills and the execution of wire transfers and retail sale of pay-as-you-go prepaid cards. Exclusivity clauses included in OPAP’s 2017 Agency Agreement[1] allegedly infringe articles 1 and 2 of Law No 3959/2011 and 101 and 102 TFEU. Also, OPAP, by holding a dominant position in the market for offline betting services, is leveraging its dominant position in this market into the markets for (i) payment services associated with the payment of utility bills/ execution of wire transfers and (ii) sale of pay-as-you-go prepaid cards, by requiring its agents via contractual clauses to use the services provided by its subsidiaries, which are active in the tied markets. 

The exclusivity/tying arrangements under scrutiny are included in the contracts entered into by its entire network of agents and, as such, cover the whole Greek territory. The possible exclusionary effects of the alleged exclusivity/tying imposed by OPAP may affect trade between Member States for the reasons set out in paras. 93-94 of the European Commission’s Notice on the Effect on Trade Concept.

It should be noted that the Statement of Objections is not binding on the HCC, which will decide on the basis of the available facts as well as the arguments put forward by the parties.

 

[1] The 2017 Agency Agreement, which includes the contested tying and exclusivity clauses, remains in force as of today.

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