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CR87-p10-EuropeCECIS2:SJC-Casino Review 23/12/09 14:58 Page 1
internationalcasinoreview
Swede wins Casinos Poland’s Unibet poker
Century Casinos’ one-third subsidiary Casinos Poland successfully hosted the Unibet Open Poker
News
Tournament at its casino at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Warsaw, Poland, from December 3 to 6, 2009.
The Unibet Open is a series of Live Texas Hold’em Poker Tournaments operated throughout Europe
since 2007. This year saw the Unibet Open becoming one of the most popular and well-known poker
tours in Europe with tournaments in Budapest, Algarve, London, Prague and the final event in
Warsaw. A total of 401 players from 25 countries competed in the main event for a total prize pool of
EUROPE CENTRAL, EAST & CIS PLN 2,566,400 (US $950,000). The final table saw the best local player from Poland, Wojciech
Frankowski, claiming eighth place and the first place going to Jimmy Jonsson from Sweden.
Higher
After having only just started to
Scottish
dust itself off from the downturn,
architect
taxes
the Bulgarian government has
dealt a potentially fatal blow to to spear-
its gaming industry.
threaten
James Walker reports.
head
Russian
future of
zone
Bulgarian
hotscott
RUSSIA
There is some movement at
gaming
last in Russia where interna-
tional architecture firm RMJM
has been successful in secur-
industry
ing its third project in the Pri-
morskiy region to develop the
first gambling zone.
Having already been
awarded the commission to
taxingtimes The situation does not end 52 gaming licences were not of 2009. It is obvious that in Grand Hotel Casino: one of 21 develop two luxury hotels in
BULGARIA there though: quarterly tax on renewed at the end of 2008, Bulgaria, as all over the world,
casinos in Bulgaria that will
the region, RMJM recently
gambling machines and roulette and 39 gaming halls had closed the myth that gaming doesn’t
have to cope with higher tax
secured the contract to
The Bulgarian Parliament is to tables will also be increased as during the year due to negative suffer in economic recession develop a gambling zone
increase its Corporate Income of January 1. Currently gambling financial results. Moreover, in periods is broken.” minors in technical compli- near Cherepasje Ozero (Cape
Taxation Act, meaning that as machines are taxed BGN300 the first half of 2009, a further Since its ascension to the EU ance requirements.” Turtle), one of Vladivostok’s
of 2010, all gambling activities ($228) every three months, but 44 gaming halls had cancelled in 2007, Bulgaria has become According to Finance Min- most desirable destinations.
in the Balkan country - street this will rise substantially to their licences even before they renowned for its transparent istry calculations, the three per- Vladivostok is Russia’s
gaming, bingo, casino gaming, BGN500 ($380). had expired. gaming laws. The BTAMOGI centage point increase in largest port city on the
lotteries and sports betting - The reasoning behind the Angel Iribozov, chairman of continues to operate along this gaming tax would bring a Pacific Ocean, close to
will be subject to a flat tax rate hikes has been varied. Democ- the management board for the principle, and the group was further BGN18m ($13.7m) to borders with China and North
of 15 per cent. Sports betting is rats for Strong Bulgaria leader Bulgarian Trade Association of quick to organise an open Bulgaria’s budget every year. Korea. RMJM’s involvment in
currently taxed at 10 per cent, Ivan Kostrov said it was “not Manufacturers and Operators round table discussion Yet this figure pales into the region so far has seen it
while games of chance are normal” for the poorest in the Gaming Industry, said: between key industry repre- insignificance when compared begin building two hotels for
taxed at 12 per cent. Support- country in the European Union “As the tax considered is on the sentatives in the wake of the to the BGN134m ($101.8m) in the Asia-Pacific Economic
ers of the move say the actions to have the most liberal gam- gross revenue and not on net announcement. taxes that would be lost as the Co-operation summit to be
were necessary to bring under bling regime, whereas Prime profit, even a small increase in However, this transparency result of mass unemployment held in Vladivostok in 2012
control spiralling addiction, Minister Byoko Borisov said the percentage may lead to does not seem to be reflected brought about by the country’s and recently opened offices
but critics say the decision will the tax presented an alterna- huge fluctuations in the final elsewhere in the Balkan state. shrinking gaming sector. in the port city.
simply drive the industry tive to a proposed increase on financial result. This increase in On November 4, Iane Ianev, The move will almost cer- The gambling zone will be
underground. liquor taxes. gaming tax made in the middle leader of political party Order, tainly serve to bankrupt hun- developed in three distinct
Regardless, it has been esti- of the global economic reces- Lawfulness, Justice, submitted dreds of Bulgaria’s independent phases incorporating a five
mated that the move places the sion is an extreme measure that for approval a draft proposal operators that are already strug- star hotel with a ground level
jobs of nearly half of Bulgaria’s may lead to the bankruptcy of for amendments of the gaming gling amid the downturn, adding casino immediately adjacent
80,000 gaming employees in many the operators and most law that are now in force. to the 60 licences that have been to the Cherapasje Ozero area.
jeopardy. Amid the worst finan- likely to a reduction of the tax “Despite the some positive cancelled this year alone. For visitors arriving by sea,
cial downturn since the 1930s, incomes for the state.” issue it reflects, such as regula- As an alternative to this the complex will include a
this makes for grim reading. Iribozov added: “As it is well tion of online gaming and pre- action, industry observers have luxury marina. Further devel-
Even more disparaging, known, the tax increase will scribing of even more stricter suggested legislators should oping the region’s attraction
however, is the fact that the not definitely lead to an control to the licensee, the draft raise revenue collection from as a conference destination,
loss of 40,000 jobs in the sector increase in state treasury law has a lot of ambiguities and the gambling industry by con- the project will also incorpo-
would translate into a loss of income. Even at the current lapses,” Iribozov stated. “It is centrating on better regulation rate a retail and exhibition
BGN134m ($101.8m) in indi- levels of gaming taxation in obvious that gaming experts of the country’s burgeoning centre, an aqua park and
rect taxes for the state budget. Bulgaria, more than 60 gaming have not been included in its online gambling sector, which indoor ski centre as well as a
Angel Iribozov: “It is obvious
As of September 2009 there licences have been terminated drafting, and very important could add as much as championship golf course.
that gaming experts have been were 21 casinos in the country as a result of the economic issues have not been raised, BGN160m ($121.7m) more to RMJM’s Russia and CIS
not included in the drafting” and 448 gaming hall operators. recession since the beginning such as the protection of the state coffers every year. chairman Dr Vladimir Kvint
said: “Vladivostok is rapidly
becoming a destination of
choice for many interna-
Limiting slots will boost Casinos Poland
tional visitors. With major
long term investment com-
mitted to the region, a
streetwise slot machines as well as all per cent instead of cur- project of this nature is a
POLAND low denomination slot rently 45 per cent) as well logical progression and we
machines, will disappear as higher fees for the are delighted to have
Century Casinos has wel- from the market due to the gaming sector. Except for secured the contract after a
comed a new Polish Gaming expiration of the underlying duly organised poker tour- highly competitive tender.”
Law that is expected to sub- licences. The operation of naments, poker cash games Governor of Primorskiy,
stantially reorganise and slot machines will be permit- will be prohibited. Sergey Darkin, added: “Fol-
restructure the gaming ted in casinos only (up to 70 With regard to the legis- lowing our appointment as
market in Poland from slot machines per casino). lation process and content host city for the 2012 APEC
January 1, 2010. Century Casinos holds a of the new law, Poland’s summit, Vladivostok and
Under the new legislation, one-third ownership interest constitutional court is now Primorskiy are fast becom-
all licences for slot arcades in Casinos Poland, which is to rule whether the newly ing beacons for the new
and low-wager betting operating seven full casinos adopted law is ‘in line with Russia. As a modern city
machines outside casinos and one slot arcade in Poland. the constitution.’ Therefore, and region, we were looking
will be phased out. Within The new law also intro- future amendments or a for a firm of architects that
the next six years, approxi-
Casinos Poland’s
duces strict new six-year suspension of the new law reflected this modernism
mately 250 slot arcades, oper- venue in Owna state licences for casinos, are considered to be theo- and dynamism. RMJM was
ating approximately 10,000 higher gaming taxes (50 retically possible. the logical choice.”
10 January 2010 • europecentraleast&cisnews
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