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CR88-p12-EuroCECIS1:SJC-Casino Review 21/1/10 15:17 Page 1
internationalcasinoreview
Zürich city still hankering for casino
As the Swiss government again looks at whether to allow any
more casino concessions, developers in Zürich are still
pressing their case for a licence, despite knock-backs in the
past. Switzerland’s largest city has no casino: there are two
competing projects, both for B-licences, one in the former Epa
department store in Sihlporte (pictured), the other backed by
News
ACE Casino Holdings in the Old Stock Exchange.
EUROPE CENTRAL, EAST & CIS
Casinos Austria
may see takeover
by Raiffeisen bank
In 2012 Casinos Austria will face a transformational year, as its
exclusive licences to operate the domestic casinos begin to run
out. While the government decides what to do next, the owners
and managers of the group are repositioning themselves for the
new environment whatever that turns out to be.
waitinggame either Wolfgang Duchatczek
AUSTRIA or Peter Zöllner, both already
on the board and both
While Casinos Austria Interna- employed directly by OeNB.
tional (CAI) is on the hunt for The positions are shifting
new investment to help in its because the government is to
development plans, its parent decide this year what to do
There is uncertainty about
the future of Casinos
company, Casinos Austria about the domestic casino
Austria operating in its own
Group (CAG) could also see a monopoly: half of the 12
country as the licences
change in its ownership struc- licences are up for renewal in come up for renewal
ture as its future as a casino 2012 and the other half in
operator in its home country 2015. A decision to allow the
is decided. status quo to continue would done about any sale of shares making it the second largest Change for Casinos Austria
Currently the three largest
General director Karl Stoss
earn loud condemnations before the decision on licence taxpayer in Austria after the is inevitable: the precise form
shareholders are Raiffeisen has pushed costs down from potential competitors, concessions has been made.” tobacco industry. of that change is as yet
Bank (a co-operative bank), the
dramatically since he took over
particularly Novomatic, which Even if the monopoly con- If it doesn’t win any conces- unclear. Since the retirement
Austrian National Bank although an experienced tinues, Casinos Austria may sions, the company is still of Leo Wallner, general direc-
(OeNB), which holds its shares hold the balance of power on casino operator internation- not be selected in the end to exceptionally attractive. Its tor Karl Stoss has been wield-
through its subsidiary the Aus- the board by allying itself with ally is barred from its own operate it: that process must international subsidiary ing a new broom and making
trian Mint, and the MTB Foun- the Mint. market. It would also be likely by law be opened to tender dwarfs the domestic opera- significant reforms, not least
dation, a private investment OeNG, under orders from to encounter opposition at the and not just in Austria but all tion in terms of revenue and moving Casinos Austria into a
fund belonging to Maria There- the Finance Minister Josef European Union level, where over Europe. If it were to win profit, and the group owns 68 modern building which it
sia Bablik, also a board member Pröll, is to assume the direct monopolies are actively dis- through all stages and carry on per cent of Austrian Lotteries, cohabits with Austrian Lotter-
of CAG. Raiffeisen holds ownership of its stake in CAG couraged, even though gam- as now, the value of the shares which is highly remunerative. ies. That has driven costs
around 35 per cent of CAG, the for the sake of ‘clarity’. As a bling is technically an issue of would rise, and OeNB and the In either case, Raiffeisen down significantly and was
Mint just over 33 per cent and first step in that process, the national competence. Treasury would see a better Bank is said to be interested also the first move in a pro-
MTB now about 17 per cent, current board representative Minister Pröll has also return. The state does well out in acquiring the entire posed merger between
having recently bought a few of the Mint, Kurt Meyer, who is decreed that OeNB must sell of the company anyway: in OeNB holding, which would Casinos Austria and its sub-
shares from the former boss of one of two deputy chairmen, its holding in CAG. However, 2008 it handed over about make it by far the majority sidiary: this, however, is now
CAG Leo Wallner, enabling it to is to be replaced in that role by he added: “Nothing will be E517m in taxes and duty, shareholder. on hold until further notice.
Table games return
Berlin
the edge,” he said.
The casinos in Berlin
used to be among the
to Bad Bentheim
biggest earning in the
casinos
country and the public
authorities benefited. In
2004, the state received
respin badly from the competition
GERMANY so only slot machines were
heading
around E94m to spend on
cultural and sporting
activities for the commu-
left behind.
After being withdrawn in But people kept coming to
2001, table games - the the cosy little casino in Bad
for the red
nity. This year it will get
around E15m and in the
following year even less as
classic element of casino Bentheim and the tables did payments are deferred in
gaming - returned to Casino not fare quite as well as order to avoid insolvency.
Bad Bentheim in north west hoped in Osnabrück. So now, helpwanted speaking for both his own The blame has been
Germany near the Dutch following a major restoration GERMANY venue and WestSpiel’s squarely laid at the door of
border on 5 January. of the casino located in the Casino Berlin in Alexan- distorting competition
The operator Spielbanken Kronenburg hotel, the new Unfair competition is derplatz (traditionally with slot arcades popping
Niedersachsen, since bought owner decided to bring them pushing Berlin’s two fierce rivals), told the up everywhere. A satellite
by Casinos Austria Interna- back. Players now have casinos towards deficit for deputies that despite of Spielbank Berlin in the
tional, decided to move the access to two American the first time, the manag- having saved costs of Hasenheide district last
tables to Osnabrück when roulette tables and one ing director of Spielbank E2.8m, they were both year saw one arcade open
Holland Casinos opened its blackjack table. There are Berlin in Potsdamer Platz heading for a loss of opposite, another just
new venue in Enschede: it more jobs too, with eight has told members of the E800,000 in the current 15m away. Turnover there
was believed that the smaller croupiers now looking after German Parliament. financial year. has dropped from E10m to
casino was going to suffer the tables. Günter Münstermann, “We are teetering on just E4m.
12 February 2010 • europecentraleast&cisnews
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