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CR75-p06-euro-west2:SJC-Casino Review 20/12/08 21:32 Page 1
Enghien still top
Casino Enghien-les-Bains has retained its
position as France’s number one venue, with
gross gaming revenues of almost E150m in the
2007/8 financial year, despite a fall of more than
ten per cent. The casino was helped by an
injection of activity from 100 extra slot machines
installed in June, making a total of 450.
French casinos call on
government for help to survive
With attendance
of casinos are in deficit and ‘You’ve never stopped
down, revenues
the profits of others are taxing us and now we are
melting away. And we taking on water, so help us,
plummeting and a
haven’t even reached the even temporarily. For at least
global and national
crisis point yet. When it two years, cut the tax on slot
really has arrived, I don’t machines and table games
economic situation
know what we will do.” by a quarter to 35 per cent.
sinking everyone into
While the casinos are not We can then get business
deserted, he said, people are going and the state will get
depression, French
spending a great deal less more money. Our tax rates
casinos are having a
including at the slot are from another time: they
machines, which make up have stayed at the same rate
tough time: so bad is
the greater part of revenues. they were before the arrival
it that operators have
“For six months, takings of slot machines increased,
have been down 15 or even which increased volumes
called a temporary 20 per cent. It has come in massively.”
truce to their 30-
several waves: first of all was A similar two-year tax dis-
the introduction of entry con- count was in place in French
years’ war to make trols for gaming machine casinos in the mid-1980s.
common cause to
salons - that lost us three per Desseigne continued: “We
cent of our clientele, which represent 20,000 jobs but
the government. was not yet a catastrophe. we are also often the biggest
Then we had to encompass employer in 200 towns and
the smoking ban - and that cities in France. Casinos rep-
was pretty monstrous. Finally, resent between five and 60
there are illegal gaming web- per cent of town budgets
Dominique Desseigne:
sites that compete with us. and play a cultural role. When
“The industry has
And that’s not going to get a casino is sick, the whole
been bled dry” any better because Brussels town coughs. The mayor of
is demanding that France Deauville, for example, has
opens up betting on the net. just halted his investment in
ausecours organised a press confer- TV news channel LCI that Laid over all that is the eco- a cultural project because
FRANCE ence to appeal for early intro- failing casinos would have a nomic crisis.” of the drop in casino rev-
duction of internet gaming huge impact. In order to survive, the enues. In spa resorts,
Normally as sociable as man- and a relief on taxation. In He said: “Today the indus- casinos want lower taxes. casinos can no longer
tises, French casino opera- early December, Lucien Bar- try has been bled dry and if “The government is pouring support the spas that are
tors put aside their tendency rière’s Dominique Des- nothing changes, it will money into banks, con- the town’s major employer.
to bite each others’ heads off seigne, speaking on behalf quietly die. Our economic struction, soon the motor Local economies have
in November when they of the industry, told French model no longer holds: half industry. All we are saying is: become a lot more fragile.”
Cogit to sue JoaGroupe owners
Partouche falls to
over failed takeover bid
provoke job cuts
suitorstosuit finalised on 30 October. He smokedout and internationally gener-
FRANCE added that there would be no FRANCE ated revenues totalling
further discussions. E430.9m, down 5.3 per cent
Negotiations that would have For its part, Bridgepoint has Partouche, the second on the previous year, to a
seen JoaGroupe (formerly said that the failure of the deal biggest casino operator in level not seen since 2005.
Moliflor Loisirs) take over its was due to worse than Europe’s biggest casino Gross gaming revenues
smaller rival Cogit, which expected results at Cogit. The market, has reported losses totalled E787.9m, down 7.8
operates casinos in France company’s president in France, across the range of its busi- per cent, meaning that it
and the Caribbean, have Benoît Bassi, said: “The deal was nesses with changes in legis- paid 88 per cent less tax,
ended in acrimony. based on an EBITDA of E11m lation, specifically the totalling E433.3m. Third
In a statement to French for the 2007/8 financial year. smoking ban and entry con- quarter GGR fell by 14.5 per
business newspaper Les Echos, Following an audit, we noticed trols, clearly having an imme- cent; fourth quarter GGR fell
Cogit’s president Henri Ernoult that it would in reality be much diate impact and economic by 16.6 per cent E192.4m.
said the company would “soon lower. As a result, we exercised situation worsening the effect. In its statement the
bring an action at the commer- a clause in the contract not to The company saw total company said: “This strong
cial tribunal in Paris” against ratify the takeover.” revenues fall by 5.7 per cent reduction in activity and its
the two major shareholders in Cogit owns and operates to E481.8m in the year to the impact on the profitability of
JoaGroupe, Bridgepoint Capital nine casinos: two each in Mar- end of October. The first the group has led Groupe
and Loto-Québec. He said they tion. The deal did not fall Casino de Trois-Ilets, tinique and Guadeloupe and quarter, largely before the Partouche to decide on
broke unilaterally an agree- through over any question of
one of Cogit’s two
five on mainland France. law changes, saw an operational cost reduction
ment to take over Cogit the valuation of the company.
venues on Martinique
According to Henri Ernoult, increase in taking of nearly measures and a redun-
through the holding company The 4 September agreement the company has withstood five per cent, however from dancy scheme. The latter
Casino France Overseas. “The comprised a purchase price, a the poor commercial envi- the second quarter on, year- measure should allow us to
agreement was signed on 4 Sep- schedule of payment and, ronment well. The business on-year comparisons all fell, reduce debt, which we
tember. On 23 September, additionally, an offer of saw a fall in its gross gaming culminating in a 13.5 per believe is our priority now. It
Bridgepoint told me it would banking finance.” revenue of one per cent in the cent drop in the fourth. will be accompanied by a
not be going any further The agreement, said financial year that ended 31 The company’s more partial refinancing currently
because of the economic situa- Ernoult, was due to be October to E105m. than 50 casinos in France being examined.”
6 January 2009 • europewestnews
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