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Gaming competition in machines and other A first-time visitor to Casino Duisburg pulled a
the Serbian capital entertainments in a mystery jackpot in June, winning a luxury cruise
Ritzio Belgrade is getting “comfortable, fresh First holiday to New York and Montreal. The 57-year-
opens
stronger with the interior” under the
timer
old woman, Monika L, came to the casino with a
in
opening of Ritzio company’s Vulcan
International’s first brand; it also intends
gets
friend and they will now both go on the trip
together, which includes several nights at the
Serbia
club there. The to develop the chain
lucky
Waldorf Astoria, a helicopter ride around the
330sqm venue in other urban centres Statue of Liberty, a musical and a dinner cruise.
features 51 gaming in the country. “It really is outrageous luck,” said the winner.
The operators of Casino Esplanade say New restrictive
that no jobs are yet at risk
machine gaming
in Norway
signup
NORWAY
Having effectively banned all slot machines
since July last year, the Norwegian Ministry
for Culture and Church Affairs, which regu-
lates gambling in the country, has introduced
new laws for gaming terminals.
Only machines operated by the govern-
ment-owned company Norsk Tipping will
be permitted, after the government won its
case at the EFTA Court in 2007. Cash has
been removed from the machines which
are server-based gaming terminals. Under
the new rules, only Norwegian residents
with a bank account in Norway will be able
to play and that will be by means of a pre-
paid card, a spillkort.
Players will be allowed to gamble up to 50
krone (about 6) per game with a maximum
Dealers demonstrate
daily loss of 400
krone (about 50)
and 2,200 krone
(about 275) per
over job fears
month. After an
hour’s continu-
ous play, they
will be required
to have a
The gloomy predictions for the German casino industry following the smoking ban and the interstate treaty
minimum ten-
seem to be coming true as operators try to make ends meet. As Hugh Sorrill reports, there is now a
minute break.
Machines
very real risk that jobs will be lost unless margins can be widened. must be
turned off
taxingtimes The new legislative environ- and therefore the jobs and the rev- at this time. What is certain is that between
GERMANY ment has created a playing field enues for the state budget. the problem does not just exist in midnight
that is far from level, claims the “We’re in discussion with the Min- Lower Saxony but also in states all and 7am.
Employees of Spielbanken Nieder- company, particularly in respect of istry of Finance now,” said Krüger, over Germany.” A
sachsen (Lower Saxony Casinos) slot arcades, which now offer “but there is no resolution as yet.” Casinos in Hamburg, operated three-
demonstrated in Hanover on 12 machines that do not differ sub- The state authorities in Berlin by Jahr + Achterfeld KG, are also month
June in order to help protect their stantially from those in casinos. and North-Rhine Westphalia have suffering. Overall the company is trial
jobs in the face of the increasingly These venues, however, do not ban already acted to reduce the tax showing a 20 per cent fall, as has
severe trading conditions facing smoking because there is no food pressure on casinos under their reported in Die Welt, with the flag- started
their employer. or drink on sale, nor are customers jurisdiction. The Lower Saxony ship venue, Casino Esplanade, in the
There are warnings that as many obliged to prove their identity finance ministry has confirmed showing a slight profit so far in the Hamar region and it
as 150 of the 460 jobs at the ten when they go in, as those in casinos that discussions are taking place, year. The story is different for the is expected that the
venues in the state could be at risk: are now required to do. but also warned that European law other four venues in the group, new-style gaming
income levels have fallen by “It is the case that slot machines would have to be respected; some which have moved into the red machines will be
between 25 and 30 per cent since are a lot more profitable than table people may interpret any move- since the beginning of the year. rolled out across the
the introduction of anti-smoking games,” Krüger told Casino Review. ment on tax as effectively repre- Managing director Otto Wulferding country in Septem-
legislation and of other restrictions “Indeed in the past, income from senting state aid to a private said: “We are currently not operat- ber.
within the cadre of interstate treaty slots has helped to support table company, which is expressly for- ing economically and are showing
on gambling: with a 70 per cent tax games, which we have maintained bidden in the EU. a 20 per cent decline in revenues.”
level in the state, margins are because they are important for our “There are several possible solu- Jobs in Hamburg are not thought
already tight. image. But now the profits are not tions to help us out of this black to be under threat at the moment.
The new-style gaming
“This is dramatic,” said a spokes- enough to cover the losses of the hole including a reduction in state The operator is also in discussion terminals being rolled
woman for Lower Saxony Casinos table games.” taxes,” said Krüger. “It is also true with the finance ministry: “As we
out in Norway
Karen Krüger. “If the earnings situa- Both the operator and the trade that another is the reduction in the have to pay the taxes at the close of
tion does not change, we will be union Ver.di are calling on state number of venues we operate. every business day, the authorities
seeing losses in the region of six government to reduce the tax rate However, no decision about what, have long been aware of the situa-
figures.” in order to safeguard the business when or how many has been taken tion,” said Wulferding.
Test case on liability before Austrian courts
safetyfirst Casinos Austria is required to examine the allowed for other liability claims under the casinos in Vienna, Baden and Linz. He said: “It
AUSTRIA financial situation of customers based on the General Civil Code and therefore contrary to would not require a disproportionate effort to
frequency of their visits and how much they the principle of expectations of equality. meet these people when they come in and talk
The Austrian Constitutional Court in Vienna spend; if it suspects that a customer’s financial Günther Riess, the lawyer bringing the about their financial situation.”
has opened a test case on the issue of liabil- wellbeing is at risk, it must take steps to warn matter to the Constitutional Court, said: “A lim- Casinos Austria welcomes more than a
ity that Casinos Austria, the monopoly oper- the player and if necessary prevent him or her itation of liability to six months is effectively the million guests every year, which makes it
ator in the country, has with respect to from entering a casino. If it fails to do so it may same as there being no liability at all.” impossible to check every single person
problem gamblers. be liable for the player’s entire losses. Casinos Austria uses what are called walking through the door to see whether they
The legislative review has been prompted The point that the Innsbruck court found Achterlisten to help them monitor heavy are at risk. Nor should guests be unduly mon-
by a decision by the Regional High Court in unconstitutional, however, was that there is a players: those who visit a casino eight or more itored or controlled. The company also
Innsbruck that elements of the Gambling Act in time restriction on this liability of six months, times a month. According to Riess there are 18 invests €3m every year in player protection
force are unconstitutional. Under the law, which it said is unjustified given the periods such people on the combined lists for the programmes.
6 July 2008 • europeannews
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