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CR87-p08-europeCECIS1:SJC-Casino Review 23/12/09 15:17 Page 1
State to take less tax from casinos
The north-east German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
has passed a new law that reduces the duty it takes from its
three casinos: with a GGR of less than E500,000 they will
pay 25 per cent; up to E2m the rate is 30 per cent, but then
after E10m the rate is 80 per cent. The state acted after its
proceeds from gaming shrank by almost a third. Pictured:
Warnemünde Kurhaus.
Casinos Austria
International searching
for commercial partner
The Austrian press has been feverish with the prospect of private sector
involvement in highly successful international operations subsidiary of Casinos
Austria. However, the company has decided that despite several offers on the
table, it will take its time to find exactly the right partner.
bestfit identified. Others have said have debts of around E150m. The company is using the
AUSTRIA that there are three: US Some progress was time in order to reorganise
venture firm Texas Pacific, expected at a company itself: currently there are four
Casinos Austria International the private equity company board meeting in early people who are board
(CAI) is to seek investment Triton and a consortium led December, at which the dif- members of both Casinos
from a commercial partner by businessman Martin ferent investors’ proposals Austria AG (CASAG), which
who will take a minority stake Schlaff. Schlaff knows were supposed to be pre- runs the 12 domestic
in the business, but which CAI well, having been sented, however, a decision venues, and Casinos Austria
could reach 49 per cent. involved with the company has been postponed until International - Karl Stoss,
Dr Karl Stoss is making
Investment bank Morgan through Club Hotel Casino early in the new year. The Aus- Dietmar Hoscher, Paul
dramatic changes at
Stanley was instructed in the Loutraki. Texas Pacific and trian press has said it is still Herzfeld and Josef Leutgeb.
Casinos Austria
summer to seek out potential Triton are both said to have unclear whether the poten- Herzfeld is to withdraw from International
bidders for a substantial share offered about E220m for the tial partner would come in his position as deputy direc-
of what is, quietly, one of the minority stake. via a sale of shares or via a tor general of CASAG by the
biggest international casino The company, however, is capital increase mechanism. middle of 2010. Leutgeb, Casinos Austria Interna- profit, divested its minority
operators in the world. They expecting a figure between Dr Karl Stoss, CEO of CFO of both CASAG and CAI, tional has been undergoing a interests in Switzerland,
were told to look for strate- E500m and E600m. Whatever Casinos Austria (and chair- is to step back from CASAG great deal of change since moved its head office and
gic partners among investors is raised from the new man of CAI), said in a state- gradually as of January. His Karl Stoss took overall reorganised its relationship
already active in the gaming partner will not go to the ment: “The aim is to find the role will be taken on by responsibility for the state- with its partners in Loutraki,
industry. CASAG but rather be rein- best solution, not the Bettina Glatz-Kremnser, who owned parent company, Belgrade and Brussels. In
According to some vested in CAI in order prima- fastest. Good things some- is currently already CFO of including a significant 2008, the company gener-
reports, by the start of rily to fund “projects in future times take time and fortu- Austrian Lotteries. Both men tidying up of its business. It ated around E1.1bn in rev-
November, “more than five” markets”. nately we are under no sort will then assume more direct has sold its South African enues from its 63 casinos in
potential partners had been The company is said to of time pressure.” control of CAI. interests at a considerable 18 countries.
casinos privatised
predict a
bad year
anydream to channel investment into the smokedout
GERMANY three existing locations: Magde- SWITZERLAND
burg, Halle and an electronic
After three years of political casino at Wernigerode. The Swiss Casino Federation has
turmoil, the three state-owned There were hard negotiations said the revenues at almost all
casinos in Saxony-Anhalt were over the level of casino tax, casinos in Switzerland will have
finally sold to a private operator, however, the government fallen this year. The Federation’s
the Sybil Group headquartered in managed to hold fast to its director Marc Friedrich said that the
Cyprus. demands for a tax rate at between smoking ban has been the main
The move away from the statist 20 and 50 per cent of gross gaming reason for the poor results, added
model, part of a trend in northern revenues, depending on the to which the economic crisis has
Germany, has been long fought for amount. The Sybil Group finally put a dampener on people’s desire
as competing political interests agreed in order to have access to play casino games.
finally came to an agreement. an expanding gaming licence, For example, the casino in St
The sale, for E1m, is a success which under the agreement will Moritz, owned by Casinos Austria
for finance minister Jens Buller- allow the company to investigate
Any deal will do
for Saxony-
Swiss, saw its takings fall by about
jahn, who was disappointed by the development of an entertain-
Anhalt’s finance
six per cent in the year. In Grand
Casino Berlin’s decision to pull ment district, with a new casino,
minister Jens
Casino St Gallen, the GGR was
out of the process in October. The on the site of a former power Bullerjahn down about a fifth. However, going
new deal brings a cash injection station at Vockerode. against the trend, the Grand Casino
and takes the three casinos, which The company has plans to for a Baden has achieved a new record
have become a liability, off the “Las Vegas of the East” - another signed the lease for the site. The Sybil Group’s main interest for revenues - profiting from the
state’s books. It requires the buyer project to claim so lofty a vision - However, it must still go through is in the development of shopping fact that no ban on smoking in
to continue to employ 90 people with investment worth hundreds an extensive planning process, and entertainment complexes in public spaces is yet in force in the
over the next five years at least and of millions of euros and has already with no guarantee of success. Germany and Eastern Europe. Aargau canton.
8 January 2010 • europecentraleast&cisnews
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