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CR79-p26&27-smoking:SJC-Casino Review 19/4/09 00:30 Page 2
already significant impact on countries reported declines affected as everyone else, Bleim doesn’t believe that
the revenues of our casinos, in GGR of between 15 per though the situation is some- casinos are helpless in the
we can safely expect that cent and 25 per cent in the what more complicated face of government imposed
Greece will demonstrate first year. This then picked up owing to two factors. Firstly, regulations but combating
sharp declines in casino again slightly and settled at a the country is geographi- the situation does require
results. These declines will be loss of between nine per cent cally squeezed between five creative ideas. “Casinos
on a similar, if not higher, level and 12 per cent due to the other countries, and sec- should plan strategically and
to the high end of those pre- loss of players to online ondly, Switzerland consists proactively well ahead of
sented by ECA members, at gaming and illegal gambling of 26 federal cantons with a time to develop sustainable
least for the first year.” venues not visible to the myriad of legal regulations countermeasures. They
In May 2007, the threat of a public. Also detrimental was and issues. should set up a range of strate-
smoking ban in Germany the reduced duration of stay, Wolfgang Bliem, COO at gies to cover all scenarios,
became real and with two because each smoking break Grand Casino Luzern in because governments will
thirds of the customer base induces quitting the game for Switzerland, explained the decide sooner or later to
smoking, the casino industry the day. The only escape affect of this. impose stricter regulations.
had to prepare itself for clause in most state legisla- “Casinos in the east of the They should prepare for the
action. Yet with the excep- tions is to provide a secluded country face stiff competi- worst case and launch a
tion of two states, casinos smoking area that was less tion owing to the more restructuring and
were not explicitly men- than 50 per cent of the total favourable conditions in cost saving programme,
tioned in the proposed legis- area of the premises and is Austria,” he said.“On the other concentrating on customer
lature, raising the questions not to be walked across by Slot revenues have been cost architectural solutions hand, casinos in western processes and high margin
of whether a licensed casino non smokers.”
worse affected by the
that were in accordance with Switzerland benefit from the profit centres, dropping all
was a public place and did Spielbank opted not to
introduction of smoking bans
their ordinances. tougher conditions in efforts that fail to generate
casinos fall under the cate- become private members Hein added: “Another France. Should legislators in profit and reducing over-
gory of bars. clubs to circumnavigate the casino was in the process of neighbouring countries or heads. Casinos should take
Matthias Hein, treasurer rule for fear of objections being refurbished and cantons change their mind the opportunity to re think
of the ECA, spokesman from from licensing authorities. It redesigned, so it got a new and laws, the current situa- or re launch their events
German association DeSIA also refrained from splitting floor layout that made it pos- tion could change again very programmes and food and
and CEO of Spielbank, said its gaming areas for smokers sible to run the bar as a sepa- suddenly and drastically.” beverages concepts to turn
that with slot players most and non smokers because of rate entity with less than 75 Undoubtedly, the legal them into profit centres.
affected by the smoking bans expected labour disputes meters squared thus allowing framework does determine Every crisis is also an oppor-
and with slot revenues with employees not willing smoking all over the place.” the effect on revenues but tunity and there are some
accounting for 70 per cent to work in the smoking Each venue required Bliem believes legislators options available and deci-
of GGR, the slots are where section. around E30,000 of invest- could have delayed the imple- sions to be made. Yes, casinos
the smoking ban hits It tried giving up its bar ment but during the first six mentation of the laws until may get singed, but they will
hardest. “We talked to legisla- status and serving only months of 2008 the meas- after the global economy has hardly go up in smoke, so long
tors, lobbied politicians for non alcoholic complimen- ures were deemed to be calmed down a little. He also as management is prepared
casino industry interests tary drinks, but players com- working. Casinos that didn’t believes that serviced to face the facts and act proac-
with the aim of securing an plained and GGR was hit introduce the smoking divi- smoking areas should be tively and innovatively and in
exemption or at least easing hard. Instead, it opted to split sions were hit hard and saw a introduced. “A smoking a timely manner.”
the legal drafts for casinos, up the gaming floor into dif- decline in slot GGR of 22.4 casino next to a What Europe doesn’t have
all in vain,” he explained. “We ferent businesses. “Wherever per cent and in tables GGR non smoking casino with is the support for the casino
then began asking for fair possible, we redefined the of 4.9 per cent. The casinos enough space and the industry felt somewhere like
treatment, putting casinos bar area as a separate busi- which were revamped as optimal gaming mix would Atlantic City. Having intro-
on the same level playing ness and built glass walls several business in one with be ideal,” he explained. “Open duced its smoking ban in
field with commercial slot around it, thus the gaming smoking areas also saw smoking cabins are a practi- mid October 2008, the
arcades. We showed the neg- area remained a smoking or declines but they were cal alternative, but have to be authorities reverted back to
ative impact for state rev- non smoking territory as nowhere near as sharp. Slots as close as possible to the smoking gaming floors,
enues and the endangering before,” Hein explained. “Of were down 3.5 per cent gaming area so that players delaying its ban for at least a
of casino jobs. We encoun- course, in some places the whilst tables dropped by 8.4 can actually monitor the year due to the crippling
tered a purely emotional individual floor plan did not per cent.” gaming action. Closed effect it would have had on
political debate led by igno- allow such measures. But Hein is not confident smoking cabins that are not the casino dependent city in
rant and sometimes militant “We made sure the slot that things will stay the same. serviced would not be a very such tough economic times.
non smokers.” zone qualified for smoker “When we look at present favourable option. The dis- The month earlier AC’s
The German industry had status as it covered the EU initiatives, it seems even tance to the gaming area and casinos had suffered their
to estimate the impact of a smaller area, thus the table harder restrictions are in the their design would be key biggest monthly decline in
non smoking ruling by game section inevitably making, aiming to protect factors to their success. A its 30 year history. And all
looking cross border, using became a non smoking employees from smoking complete smoking ban, this in a country with great
other EU nations that had pre- area.” hazards in work places all which is the option posing sensitivity to health issues,
viously dealt with smoking In other places where slots around Europe. These will the highest risk, means that and where the global
bans in casinos, such as and tables are united in one sooner or later eliminate customers have to go outside smoking ban began. In an
Finland, Sweden, Italy and big room, the operator held even the last refuge for or on smoking balconies to industry where customer is
Spain as references. meetings with the local smokers in casinos.” smoke; where distance to the king, choice should be the
Hein explained: “These authorities to try to find low Swiss casinos are just as gaming area is crucial.” viable option.
Malta Investment Management Company Limited (MIMCOL), acting on behalf of management business that can build on the current operator’s success
the Government of Malta and Casma Limited, is launching a competitive process with the aim of positioning the Dragonara casino as a regional gaming and
for the award of a concession for the management, operation and development entertainment centre.
of the business activities of the Dragonara Casino Complex, St. Julians - Malta.
The Request for Proposals for the concession will be issued on the 4th of May
Dragonara Casino Complex is a leading casino and gambling facility situated in 2009. More information on the exact procedure to be followed in order to obtain
the heart of the foremost tourism and entertainment centre in Malta. The 1870 a copy of the Request for Proposals document can be obtained by contacting:
built palace and surrounding grounds stand on a promontory with easy access
to most of the fi ve star hotels that are clustered in the area. For decades and
The Chief Executive Offi cer
within its elegant setting, the palace has opened its doors for casino activities, Malta Investment Management Co. Ltd.
for the last ten years under the management of an experienced international
Enterprise Centre, San Gwann Industrial Estate
casino operator whose term of offi ce is due to expire.
San Gwann SGN 3000 MALTA
Tel: (00356) 21497970
For this purpose and by virtue of a Request for Proposals, MIMCOL is seeking
Fax: (00356) 21499568
proposals for applications from reputable bidders experienced in the casino e-mail:
May 2009 • report 27
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