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From Italy to Turkey, Czech billionaires interested in taking over gambling markets

2016-08-30 12:02:56

Media-shy energy investor Karel Komarek and his billionaire pal Jiri Smejc are interested in investing in the Italian gambling industry. The two Czech men - who have been involved in a plenitude of investment, with Smejc’s passion project being the Maldive private island Velaa, and Karel Komarek funnelling millions to support Czech music culture - have set their sights on entering the market.

According to Dana Dvorakova, spokeswoman of Komareks’s company KKCG, a daughter company of KKCG and Smejc’s Emma Capital have bought shares in Italian Gaming Holding, which runs the biggest Italian gambling company Lotto. Alongside the Italian Gaming Holding (32,5 %), Lotto is run by Lottomatica (61,5 %), Arianna 2001 (4%) and Novomatic Italia (2 %).

This, however, isn’t the billionaires' first journey into the world of gambling. Smejc supported the privatisation of gambling in Greece and purchased the state-run lottery OPAP.

An investigation into the business interests of the Czech investment tycoons, conducted by, suggests that both Smejc and Komarek are interested in entering both the Austrian market, via Casino Austria AG / Österreichische Lotterien Gruppe, and the Turkish market.

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