Greek gaming firm's new lottery machines held up by new rules

LONDON (Reuters) - Greek betting firm OPAP has delayed the planned launch of its video lottery terminals, saying it needs more time to ensure the machines comply with new, tougher rules on machine-based gambling introduced by the current government.

OPAP said it had not been expecting the new regulations, which were published on June 12 and call for lower jackpot levels, daily loss limits and length of play time allowed.

It was not clear how much the delay would cost the Greek state. In a June proposal that Greece had made to creditors, the government estimated that it could reap some 35 million euros (25 million pounds) in 2015 and some 225 million in 2016 in revenues from video lottery terminals.

Earlier in the year, OPAP had sought local and international bids from companies wanting to install and operate some 18,500 video terminals across Greece. OPAP said the machines were due to begin operating within days.

The new rules from Greece's Gaming Committee set a daily loss limit of 80 euros a player and limit the amount of time people can play to 10 hours a week and 32 hours a month, down from previous limits of 12 and 40 hours respectively.

The maximum jackpot of gaming halls is now limited to 20,000 euros from the previous 100,000 euros, and playing centres' opening hours will be reduced by three hours. Also, tax registration numbers will be required from now on for individuals wanting to create a personal player card.

OPAP said it would take the necessary measures to satisfy the gaming regulator and ensure the viability of its gambling machines.

(Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Greg Mahlich)