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Greece’s Intralot upbeat on winning Spor Toto March 15, 2008

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Greece’s Intralot SA, the world’s second-largest gaming-services provider, is “optimistic” about winning a 10-year contract to run Turkish sports-betting game Iddaa, Chief Executive Officer Constantinos Antonopoulos said.

Inteltek, the Turkish unit of Athens-based Intralot, in February signed a one-year interim contract to operate Iddaa for Spor Toto, Turkey’s state gaming authority. Inteltek, a venture between Intralot and Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, said it controls about 40 percent of the country’s gaming market.

“We are very optimistic,” Antonopoulos said in an interview in London yesterday. “In the 15 years we have been in this business, we’ve never lost a client. And we don’t want to lose it,” he said. Intralot will also bid for Turkey’s state-owned national lottery, he added.

Intralot has a market value of 1.77 billion. The gaming company, which is scheduled to announce full-year results by the end of this month, forecast 2007 profit of 115 million euros on sales of about 880 million. Profit in the first nine months rose 4.2 percent to 85.5 million, Intralot said November 21.

The results “will be in line with our forecasts,” the executive said, adding that the final dividend will be similar to last year, when Intralot paid 18 cents a share.

Since the beginning of the year, Intralot has won new gaming contracts in South Carolina, its fifth US contract, and Poland and Turkey. It hopes to expand in China and begin operating in Vietnam, Antonopoulos said.

Intralot employs more than 4,000 people and runs lotteries and supplies gaming technology to 40 countries. Intralot’s revenue trails Lottomatica SpA, which manages Italy’s national lottery.

Greece’s OPAP to defend its monopoly on local gaming March 13, 2008

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The reorganization of procedures, the agreement with betting agents and the rationalization of the “Pame Stoichima” [Let’s go Betting] betting game are the three top priorities for Christos Hadziemmanouil, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Greek gaming company OPAP.

Speaking to Dow Jones, he said the above three pillars concern the moves of the OPAP administration over the next few months and the aim is for those issues to have closed by June.

Plans for expansion abroad announced by the previous management of the company remain on ice and will be reviewed by the end of the year, said Hadziemmanouil. By that time the move by the European Commission against the company’s monopoly will have unfolded, he added, noting that he will defend the monopoly with all his strength.

“However, if worst comes to worst and we lose the monopoly, then only some very gullible people will believe that OPAP would cease to be profit-making,” he told the international news agency.

On “Pame Stoichima”, the OPAP head said that the undertaking of its management by the company was a huge step. OPAP will introduce new forms and new fields of betting in order to strengthen it, although these moves will not be made before the existing betting fields are rationalized.

Hadziemmanouil also remarked that a crucial change in the company’s operation will be the basis of a new relationship it wants to have with its agents. OPAP has begun negotiations with the agents’ federation for the signing of a new agreement between the two sides, and talks have been progressing rapidly.

Related Links > http://www.opap.gr  and http://www.pamestihima.gr

Hunting ban in Greece November 11, 2007

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The Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, in a ruling yesterday banned hunting in parts of Greece affected by the devastating summer fires until the end of February.

The court made the decision after an application was filed by an environmental group on the grounds that the fire had created imbalances in the country’s ecosystem and problems for wildlife. The temporary hunting ban applies to only parts of the burnt areas, according to the ruling.

Cyprus hunting season begins November 7, 2007

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Thousands of hunters were out on Sunday, the first day of the new hunting season, which began with appeals by the government for safety.

This year there is more game, with the number of hare released in the wild up by 15-20 per cent and about 150.000 partridges freed for the season.

Interior Minister Christos Patsalides has urged hunters to comply with the written as well as the unwritten laws governing this sport and to pay the utmost attention to their safety and the safety of others.

The UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus has warned hunters not to venture into the buffer zone as “they are running the risk of drawing fire from either of the opposite forces.” The buffer zone, patrolled by UNFICYP, separates the Turkish occupied and military controlled, since July 1974, northern part of The Republic of Cyprus from the southern government controlled areas of the Republic. The military of both sides maintains positions along the buffer zone.

Cyprus plans to cut betting tax October 30, 2007

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Cyprus plans to cut its betting tax to 10 percent from the present 25 percent in a bid to clamp down on illegal practices and enhance tax revenues, officials said yesterday.

In 2006, betting tax revenues declined to 4.27 million Cyprus pounds ($10.4 million) from 4.59 million Cyprus pounds in 2005, coming largely from bets on horses and soccer. Illegal betting is considered to be responsible for the declining revenues.

“The proposed change provides that taxation will be paid not by the player but by the betting agent, based not on the amount of the bet but on the difference between (received betting) revenues and amounts paid (to winners),” Iphigenia Petrocosta from the Finance Ministry told Parliament’s Finance Committee.

Representatives of gaming companies said the proposed change was a step in the right direction. “We believe that this law will help legal betting,” Glafkos Harmantas, President of OPAP Cyprus, told Reuters but declined to speculate on the dimensions of illegal betting. Petrocosta said the proposed legislation is an interim solution as the European Commission is to decide on Europe-wide rules.

Greece to host 2013 Med Games October 30, 2007

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The central Greek cities of Volos and Larissa were awarded the Mediterranean Games for 2013, a multi-sport event held every four years, after emerging victorious from voting procedures held on Saturday in Pescara, Italy, host of the next games in 2009.

The joint Greek bid received 37 votes, five more than the Croatian city of Rijeka, in the second round of voting. A third candidate, Turkey’s Mersin, was eliminated in the first round with 13 votes, against 24 for Rijeka and 31 for Volos and Larissa.

“These games are of major importance for Volos and Larissa and the wider region of Thessaly, which will acquire infrastructure that it lacks, infrastructure that will improve the quality of life of its citizens and significantly bolster the regional economy,” noted Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

At a news conference shortly after the Volos-Larissa win was announced, the Bid Committee’s Chief Isidoros Kouvelos, Bakoyannis’s husband, said the event’s committee had “embraced the ambitious Greek proposal for upgrading the Mediterranean Games.” Kouvelos described the joint Greek bid as difficult, noting that the relevant campaign commenced several months after the other two candidate cities had already begun preparations.

Held under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee and currently involving over 20 countries from three continents, the Mediterranean Games were first held in 1951 in Alexandria, Egypt, after the idea was proposed at the 1948 Olympic Games by Muhammed Taher, Chairman of the Egyptian Olympic Committee.

Initially, the sporting event was held one year before the Olympic Games, but since 1993, it has been staged the following year. Italy leads the all-time medal tally. Greece is ranked sixth.

Related Links > http://www.2013volos.gr/index.htm

Sporting Limassol > Cyprus’ biggest festival of sport October 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Athletics, Cycling, Martial Arts, Sports & Games.
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Cyprus’ biggest festival of sport kicks off next weekend in Limassol. Whether you watch or take active part is up to you

With so much attention given to the Cyprus Rally, it comes as great relief to the non-petrol heads among us to have an entire festival devoted to human sporting endeavours to look forward to, particularly now that summer is almost over and the beach is beginning to lose its appeal.

Now in its 8th year,Lemesia” is the largest celebration of sport in Cyprus and, while focusing on professional athleticism, it also aims to encourage citizens to haul themselves off their couches to enjoy some exercise and try something new. Athos Xenofontos is responsible for putting the whole thing together and is the man who first planted the seeds of the festival back in 1998. Since then, Lemesia has experienced an explosion of growth, attracting more sports events and international athletes every year.

Among the events is an exhibition of photographs depicting Cyprus’ sporting history and a ceremony to honour Cypriot sportsmen and women of the past, with special recognition to be given to the tremendous achievements of 2007’s heroes: Volvo World Youth Sailing champion Pavlos Kontides, World Championship high jump bronze medallist Kyriakos Ioannou and World Champion shooters George Achilleos and Antonis Nicolaides who train locally.

The nine-day free sporting smorgasbord will kick-off with fireworks, a band competition and dancing to ‘Street Beats’. Here are some of the highlights; whether you want to get active or simply watch is entirely up to you.

10th Marios Agathaggelou international race > The oldest and the catalyst event for the entire Lemesia Festival is the 10km run held in honour of Cypriot athlete and coach, Marios Agathaggelou. “We started in 1998 with the first race. He was a big sportsman, a man ahead of his time. We held the race for two years and afterwards the municipality asked me to make a tournament with other sports so in 2000 we started Lemesia,” explains Athos. Up to 500 athletes will compete in three different races starting from the Municipal Gardens; the main race will take in two and a half laps to the Old Port while a 3km fun style event will run alongside a 1km race for children under the age of twelve. €1,000 is the top prize in the main event in which international runners will compete against teams from the National Guard and United Nations. Registration begins one hour before the runners set-off, entry is free.
Date: Saturday October 20, Time: 4pm, Location: Main entrance of the Municipal Gardens.

Amateur boxing > To encourage more spectators, this year’s boxing championships are going alfresco at the Enaerios parking area, convenient if the early evening fights get a bit dull with numerous nearby cafes or bars nearby to take a break from the pummelling. Contestants from around 15 countries will take part in the Olympic standard competition culminating in a grand final on October 14. Contestants can register for the event by contacting Cyprus.box@cytanet.com.cy
Date: October 12 to 14, Time: 5pm, Location: Enaerios parking area, corner of Archbishop Makariou III and the beach road.

Triathlon > Triathletes tempted by a €500 cash prize for the race winner with €200 and €100 on offer to the runners up, will be competing for what is probably the most challenging Lemesia competition, a ‘full’ triathlon race. Consisting of a 1,500m swim followed by 40km cycle and 10km run on a circuit from the Old to the New Port along the beach road. “We’ve made a special effort to make it a spectator event including changing the course to do several laps instead of a single one,” says Triathlon Federation President Pambos Spanoudes. The best spot to watch from is opposite the Catholic Church on the beach road or along the route through the sculpture park.
Date: Sunday October 14, Time: 9am, Location: route from the old to the new port along the beach road and sculpture park.

Shooting > Undoubtedly one of the most popular activities given the country’s status in world competitive shooting. Around 100 shooters are expected to take part in the Sport discipline competition, each with 30 clay targets to blast into oblivion. With world champion George Achilleos away from the range competing in Belgrade, there’s a sporting chance for anyone who wants to have a go. Entry is free but competitors must register before 12pm on the day.
Date: Sunday October 14, Time: 8am to 1pm, Location: The Limassol Shooting Club, outskirts of Armenochori village.

Veteran Athletics > For ladies over the age of 35 it’s depressing to hear that in sports terms at least, we fall into the ‘veterans’ category. The good news is that the oldies (aged over 40 for men) are still going strong and can show Cyprus’ cafe obsessed younger generation a thing or two about sport. 1980s champion sprinter Angelos Angelides is organising the athletics event consisting of javelin, long jump, shot put and running among others. “Everyone who is coming is not in the best shape but it’s to demonstrate how older athletes still have the courage to compete. It’s a good message to the people of Limassol that they can be involved in sport forever, for their health and to live a better life,” he says. 100 athletes from all over Cyprus will compete against teams from Greece and Romania. All competitors will be awarded a medal.
Date: Sunday October 21, Time: 4pm, Location: Lanitium High School (near McDonalds), Contact for entrants: Angelos Angelides 99324263.

Rhythm Gymnastics > If you want to feel really old then pop along to this event where a host of nubile athletes will be springing, twisting, somersaulting and bending themselves into impossible positions while creating clever displays with balls, ribbon and rope. Organisers were not able to confirm if Cyprus’ most promising gymnast, Raissa Panagioutou, will be demonstrating the talents that took her to the finals of this year’s Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Date and Time: Saturday October 20, 10am to 1pm and 4pm to 8pm, Sunday October 21, 3.30pm to 8.30pm, Location: Spyros Kyprianou Lemesos Stadium off the B8 from Limassol to Troodos road.

Karate > Fluid movement of a more combative nature will be one of the disciplines of the 4th International Traditional Karate Festival organised by president of the federation, Vaso Vassiliou. ‘Kata,’ a set sequence of Karate techniques based on the principles of physical combat, will sit alongside the real ring fights called ‘Kumite,’ meaning ‘a meeting of hands,’ on the Karate festival programme.
Date: Saturday October 20, 4pm to 7pm / Sunday October 21, 10am to 1pm, Location: Ag. Neophitos School, near Orphanides supermarket.

Limassol Cycling Tour > A relatively sedate 20km two wheeled tour of the city, guided by members of the Limassol Cycling Club, will set off from the Enaerios parking area on a circuit to Omonia and back along Makarios Avenue and Molus, taking in a little of the beachfront scenery. Around 400 cyclists are expected at this free to enter event which Club Secretary Christos Geros describes as “purely fun and recreational.” If you want to take part get there early to register and don’t forget to bring a helmet.
Date: Sunday October 21, Time: 10am, Location: Enaerios parking area.