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CR82-p20-Comment:SJC-Casino Review 26/7/09 09:44 Page 1
“I think those who bought the licences have already
earned revenues ten times the value of a licence. And,
once again, I wish to say that the law fully regulates the
legal relations of the government, especially the cabinet,
as well as those who ran gambling businesses, so there
can’t be any allowances for those whose licences have
yet to expire, as the law doesn’t stipulate that.”
Ukraine’s first vice Prime Minister
Oleksandr Turchynov sees no need to
reimburse business owners for the
cost of licences
Hungarian success
depends on
international appeal
The Hungarian government has always
impressed with its step by step approach
to casino regulation, but could the new
category one casinos be a step too far.
Phil Martin explains why it will all come
down to their international appeal.
hungaryformore tionally renown operator
COMMENT Casinos Austria International.
For the first decade of their
existence the total of 12 casinos
that opened could only take
bets from foreign customers.
This changed in 1991 and two
years later the government
looked to boost the sector with
eight new licences. However, by
1998 it was decided that it had
gone too far and that with 20
The news that EuroVegas is to casinos the market was satu-
develop its plans for a super rated. New legislation was
casino in Hungary in partnership brought in to reduce the number
with Hard Rock should now lead of casinos. The country’s six
to the development of a project casinos generate GGR of
The crisis is revealing
that will change casino style around HUF 53bn (E0.196bn).
gambling in the country forever. Dream plaza destined for the
EuroVegas is to pitch up Budapest island would face a maturing industry
close to the town of Bezenye, competition from three existing
with its population of 1,650 venues in the capital called Las
people, in the Gyor-Moson- Vegas, Várkert and Belvárosi.
The casino industry is no longer expanding. Is the dire international economy
Sopron region in north-west The three provincial casinos
Hungary, close to the Austrian are all still owned by Casinos
to blame? Partly, says Hugh Sorrill, but also the supply of casinos may
and Slovakian borders. Austria International namely, finally have caught up with the demand in many parts of the world.
There’s already a super- Gy r and Sopron in the North
sized project called Dream West and Kecskemét in the oldequation always finding the demand to this industry, the failure of some
Plaza with 200 tables and 4,000 east. Of thesem Gy r is closest COMMENT allow the growth to continue. casinos is inevitable. It is all part of
slots heading for an island in to the Euro Vegas site. Annual The international economic a how an industry matures.
Budapest. Further to this a attendance across the country’s Historically, the view of the gaming crisis, however, has put a term There is the odd exception, of
company calling itself Venetia estate of six venues peaks just industry is as a classic example of a on expansion in most parts of course. Russia and its unhappy
Hungary has also secured a below 350,000. For venues the supply-driven activity: if you build the world and seen an end to neighbour Ukraine saw the
category one casino licence, size and cost of Euro Vegas and a casino, people will come and ever-increasing revenues from balance tip too far in one direction
the paperwork needed to Dream Plaza international visi- play in it. As, often powerful, oppo- existing locations. It seems that with over-supply of gambling. Now
operate one of these huge tors are clearly pivotal. nents of casinos believe that gam- now in most places there are for political rather than abstract
casinos, for a project that so The hope is that both proj- bling almost inevitably harms both enough casinos. economic reasons (although the
far hasn’t been detailed. ects will attract wealthy Rus- individuals and society, the spread Whereas talk used to be of ‘cre- two are hard to separate), it has
Why is Hungary the focus of sians to what will be two of of gaming houses around the ating new markets’, now when gone the other way with the indus-
all this attention? Mainly Europe’s largest casino resorts. world in the past was slow and new casinos open the debate is The Hard Rock brand will try in both countries banned
because its government is In terms of total slots, only Gran patchy, which meant there was how much they will cannibalise
see the EuroVegas project
utterly. In different ways, neither
looking to develop these desti- Scala, the proposal for the always more demand than supply. those nearby - for just a few evi-
come to life in Hungary but
the big question remains:
state is yet strong enough it appears
nation casino in the right way, deserts of Aragon in Spain, has As a result, new casinos quickly dential examples look at Atlantic
will enough international
to regulate gambling or casinos
rather than banish casinos to far the potential to eclipse it. found a clientele, seemingly City since Pennsylvania chose to players be attracted? properly and the old habits of the
flung destinations, it has con- Whether any of the grand proving the point about their allow slot machines to operate command economy have kicked
trolled its existing casino sector projects currently on the Euro- attractiveness, harmful or not. and what has happened to Casino unlimited supply of gaming in with the belief that killing the
and is now looking to create pean drawing board will But ten to 15 years ago, things Hohensyburg in Germany since opportunities mostly at the supply will kill the demand.
something different. succeed in attracting interna- began to change; societal ortho- nearby Casino Duisburg opened. expense of real casinos. They are wrong, of course, and
The government’s piecemeal tional visitors is a huge gamble doxies of all kinds were being There are palpable fears of the Even in this climate, closures the equalising power of supply
approach should be applauded. for those investors involved. questioned and broken down, effect that the two huge new are rare but they happen and are and demand will eventually make
Hungary’s first casinos opened Euro Vegas is hoping that its including the attitude to resorts in Singapore will have on happening more frequently. But as its presence felt there as it has in
for business in the early 80s and Hard Rock brand, known inter- casinos, and as a consequence Macau and that’s not to mention the natural rhythms of supply and so many other places in the world.
were launched by an interna- nationally, will help. the industry grew massively, the internet, which offers an demand finally begin to apply to It might take a while, though.
20 August 2009 • comment
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