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CR79-p04-europewest1:SJC-Casino Review 19/4/09 01:25 Page 1
Open-air slots help Riviera smokers
The first open-air slot room in France was opened on 11 April at the Casino
Barrière Sainte-Maxime on the French Riviera. The 80sqm room has a
retractable roof that can operate all year round, provided the weather is
good - and Sainte-Maxime gets on average 250 sunny days annually. It has
the added benefit of providing a gambling area where it is legal to smoke.
Accor buys Colony
stake in Lucien Barrière
Holland Casino has
appointed a new
marketing director, Jan
Paul van Heemskerck
van Beest, who will join
the Dutch monopoly
operator on 1 June after
11 years with Dutch
Railways (Nederlandse
Spoorweg - NS).
Van Heemskerck has
Above: Dominique Desseigne,
president of Groupe Lucien
occupied several
Barrière, and his family still
commercial positions in
retain the majority interest in
his time at NS, the last
the company four as director of
Left: Casino Barrière Enghien-
marketing in which role
les-Bains, in which Accor now
he has made a major
has a higher than hoped for stake contribution to the
growth and image
Whether it likes it or
onthetable of holding substantial stakes - March 2008, 2009 or 2010. shares could be diluted, improvement of the
not, Accor is once
FRANCE in largely North American While Accor had prepared should it become necessary company. He was
gaming operators (and has itself to a large extent for to raise money to cover the responsible for major
again a major player
Investment fund Colony been suggested as one of meeting its obligation to debts incurred in the projects and campaigns
in the French casino
Capital has sold its 15 per many possible saviours of Colony, its estimate for how company’s continued expan- and recently represented
industry, having been
cent stake in France’s largest MGM Mirage’s CityCenter much it would have to pay sion: in the economic crisis the company in its
operator, Groupe Lucien Bar- project in Las Vegas), will still fell short by more than E40m. Lucien Barrière like every ongoing bid for the
obliged to buy up
rière, to its now former fellow have an indirect involvement It will not, however, want to other operator, is seeing oper- South Central regional
Colony Capital’s
minority shareholder Accor in the Barrière group as a retain this level of interest: ational income reduced train operating franchise
share of Groupe
for E153m. The move, which major shareholder itself of company president Gilles hugely. Its rival Partouche is in the UK. Prior to NS,
Lucien Barrière. The
was signalled last November, Accor. Pélisson said at the end of having to go back to its share- he worked for the FHV-
sees Colony exercise an The exit option was built February: “In the long run, we holders to try and raise BBDO advertising
company, however, option to exit the company it into the agreement between have no vocation to remain in money to cover what it owes. agency with clients such
is unlikely to want to
helped to establish in 2004. the three partners when they the casino sector.” The opening of the online as Grolsch, PTT Post
keep it that way - so
Accor already held a 34 per decided to create the then That has put to bed any lin- gaming market in France, and AMEV.
cent stake in the Barrière largest operator in Europe by gering thoughts that Accor however, may yet provide the Van Heemskerck said:
expect more share group, so its new portion merging the Lucien Barrière might mount a takeover bid cash resources that Barrière “After eleven years of
movement soon.
brings it up to 49 per cent of casinos with those of Accor. for the controlling interest - needs - which is why delays at the railway I feel the
the company. The Barrière- Colony carefully prepared its always only a remote possi- government and European need to make an
Desseigne family owns the departure in that agreement, bility given the closeness of level have caused so much enormous step and to
controlling interest of 51 per to the extent even of giving the Barrière-Desseigne anxiety. Both Barrière and Par- work with a new team to
cent. itself three dates by which it family. However, there is yet a touche have launched e- achieve as much
Colony, which has a history would sell its shares to Accor possibility that the family’s casinos for the UK market. success as with NS.”
New gaming commission for France
Interior minister
Michèle Alliot-Marie
has pushed through
reform, albeit modest,
fiveyearmission Conseiller d’État, a senior general secretary for Over- 1947 as amended. of the Commission
FRANCE member of the Council of seas Departments. Traditionally, the CSJ’s
Supérieure des Jeux
State, which acts as a quasi After five years, the gov- decisions have been final
The French gaming com- legal advisor to the govern- ernment will look again at with interior ministers
mission, the Commission ment. The other members how the new Commission merely endorsing them with
Supérieure des Jeux (CSJ), will be drawn from state is working. As before, the a rubber stamp. Since
is to be restructured as of 9 finance bodies, the min- CSJ will have the legal Michèle Alliot-Marie took
June, it has been istries of the interior, status only of advisor to the reins, however, she has
announced in the Official finance and health, the the final arbiter, the Inte- overridden the Commission
Journal of the French gov- National Assembly, the rior Minister, on matters to on various occasions;
ernment. Senate plus two mayors do with licensing of some applicants, such as
The reformed body will nominated by the National casinos and the games the famous Frédérique
be appointed for an initial Association of Designated that can be offered within Ruggieri of Casino du Lac
term of five years and will Spa and Tourist Communi- them. It will look at appli- de la Madeleine de Gujan-
be made up of just 12 ties. The tourism ministry cations from clubs and Mestras, have also been
members (down from the loses its representation on casinos in the light of the successful in challenging
current 20), headed by a the CSJ as does the existing laws of 1959 and its decisions in the courts.
4 May 2009 • europewestnews
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