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CR79-p12-cecis3:SJC-Casino Review 19/4/09 02:05 Page 1
internationalcasinoreview
Ritzio takes Croatian total to 34 halls
Ritzio opened three Volcano-themed clubs in the Croatian cities of Metkovic, Mokosica and Orebic
News
in April taking its total in the country to 34 slot halls in 20 cities.
Ritzio entered the country in 2008 by acquiring two large gaming chains from local operators. The
Group’s primary focus in Croatia is to pursue and develop the small and medium-size clubs
segment within the ‘convenient gaming’ market. Balanced local gaming legislation and favourable
market conditions provided Ritzio with an opportunity to reach its goal within a short period of time.
EUROPE CENTRAL, EAST & CIS Ritzio management also plans to continue the clubs improvement activities with redesigning its
venues and bringing them to the single brand standard.
Albanian
ontheup one has one casino operated had increased by 30 per cent office said in a report. Hyatt Regency first opened up
ALBANIA by Hyatt, also has 20 book- compared to the same “For several years, the its casino in Tirana in 2005 it
gambling
makers, 22 entities offering month last year. income from gambling and other threatened to shut up shop
spend
Gambling in Albania surged gambling games and nine “During 2008, Albanians betting activities has recorded a immediately after the govern-
by 70 per cent in 2008 with lottery companies. spent more than US$100m on rather considerable increase,” ment unexpectedly decided to
increases by
more than US$100m being The tax office stated that gambling, including sports said Redian Kristo of the office quadruple taxes on slot
spent on gambling. in January 2009 alone, betting,” compared with that controls gambling. machines. Hyatt effectively owns
$US40m The Balkans country, which money spent on gambling US$60m in 2007, the tax When Greek casino group 30.6 per cent of the casino.
Grand Casino Helsinki celebrates
fifth birthday and record revenues
fivealive been televised nationwide. of both private and corpo-
FINLAND Customer demographics rate customers. Even
have also changed. Jokipaltio though there are probably
Grand Casino Helsinki, the explained: “Our player challenging times ahead,
only casino in Finland, cele- profile has become younger, we view the future in a pos-
brated its fifth birthday at the the share of female cus- itive light,” he said.
start of April, having success- tomers has remained at In 2008 both the number
fully met its operational aims approximately one third of of visitors to Grand Casino
over the half decade. total visits, and the relative Helsinki and our profit from
Casino director Hannu share of customers from the gaming grew compared to
Jokipaltio said that even in Helsinki metropolitan area previous years. The number
the midst of a global reces- has increased. Approxi- of visits increased by 1.5 per
sion the operator has main- mately 20 per cent of our cent, totalling 326,000 visits,
tained its goal of achieving a customers are foreigners.” while the yield on gaming
steady increase in both the The casino was on course was E35.4m, with an
casino’s popularity and prof- to welcome its 1.5 millionth increase of five per cent.
itability. “The past five years visitor during its birthday Meanwhile, customers won
have been successful,” he week with the role that nearly E100m from the slot
said. “The goals established poker has played being high- machines alone. Daily visita-
in terms of the number of lighted by Jokipaltio. tion levels averaged 900
customers and the number Poker was introduced 14 with most visitors falling
of visits, along with gaming years ago at the casino’s pred- into the age group of 25 to
revenue and profit, have ecessor, Casino RAY. “We 34 year-olds.
been met every year. In five immediately began offering Around 80 per cent of all
years, gaming revenue has international tournaments at Finnish visitors were based
increased by 45 per cent and the new venue,” Jokipaltio in the capital area. In 2008,
the number of visits by 28 explained. “At the time, not the average customer
per cent.” many casinos in Europe did visited Grand Casino four
During these five years, this, and we were able to times, while one third of all
customers have received attract the attention of inter- customers visited two times
some E650m in winnings. For national players. Today, tour- or more.
example, an average of four naments are held in all ”We are assured that our
Grand Mystery Jackpots European casino countries business will keep growing,
worth E500 are won each but we continue to maintain and we have budgeted a four
day, amounting to 4,400 our status through two famil- per cent growth in gaming
jackpot payouts worth E2.2m iar annual poker tourna- profit for this year,” said
over the past five years. The ments, Helsinki Freezeout Jokipaltio, confidently. He
set up of the casino industry and Midnight Sun. The popu- does not believe that the
is unique in Finland. Only one larity of weekly live poker oscillating economy will
international style licence tournaments continues and have an effect on casino
has been offered and one grows alongside that of operations.
hundred per cent of its online poker. Last year, poker Despite record revenues
revenue is distributed to was the third most popular in 2008, the slots were down
healthcare and social welfare game at the casino, preceded to E27m but still 75 per cent
work in Finland. Of the 2008 by roulette and Black Jack. of the casino’s E35.4m
profit from gaming, totalling Revenue from the various gaming profit comes from
E35.5m, the share allotted to poker games grew by 27 per slot machines. In December
charities amounted to cent,” Jokipaltio explained. 2008 alone, slot drop
E14.3m. The casino accounts A new expansion to the accounted for over E10m, a
for under six per cent of Five years in and an expansion is planned at Grand Casino casino is set to encompass monthly record for the
RAY’s (Finland’s Slot Machine
Helsinki. This news and that of record GGR in 2008 made the
the premises that formerly casino. Nevertheless, slot
Association) turnover. belonged to the Bio City machine profits from that
But far than just revel in
half decade festivities, something to celebrate.
movie theatre. The premises period were the lowest in
the revenues generated, RAY will be renovated by Ameri- the casino’s history.
is most proud of how it has also very proud of our staff, beginning of establishing a Fennia Salon fill with the can casino architect Paul Despite this, Grand Casino
changed the perception of who have allowed us to new kind of casino culture revelry and entertainment Steelman and will be com- Helsinki is meeting any reces-
casino gambling in Finland. achieve this and many other in Finland. Our facilities of decades gone by.” pleted in 2010. The expan- sion head on. Jokipaltio
“One of our greatest goals year after year.” tripled in size, while our The casino has become sion means that the casino explained: ”We will do our
achievements during these The current venue took game selection doubled, as the stage for many important will need to recruit new share in fighting the reces-
past five years has been that two years to build and did the number of employ- media events: the Finnish employees. The casino’s sion with a massive building
we have been able to marked a movement in ees. Our restaurant services Parliament’s electoral panel, entertainment programme contract. We are also recruit-
combine entertainment and social acceptance. became more diversified, the Miss Finland pageant, the will expand and diversify, ing more staff already in
gaming operations in such a “We not only changed our and Royal Restaurants Ltd main event of the Interna- but Jokipaltio is reluctant to 2009, including more
way that Finns now perceive location but we also was chosen to be our restau- tional Women’s Day and reveal any more details. “We dealers. As the new floor is
of Grand Casino Helsinki as changed our casino concept rateur. The introduction of numerous corporate func- will continue to improve opened next year, we will
an entertainment casino,” and our name,” Jokipaltio Show and Dinner evenings tions have been organised in our capacity for customer further step up on the
Jokipaltio explained. “I’m explained. “This marked the five years ago has seen the Fennia Salon, and some have service based on the needs recruiting process.”
12 May 2009 • europecentraleast&cisnews
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