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Wire EMEA


Switzerland Casinos Slide 39 per cent


Switzerland's land-based gaming sector was hit with full force by the pandemic during the lockdown phases due to the closure of the casinos.


Swizerland’s land-based casino gross gaming revenue was down by 39 per cent or CHF250m to CHF452m.


SWITERLAND CASINO OPERATIONS


ALBANIA – Located in Albania’s capital Tirana, The Royal Eagle Casino officially opened its doors to the public on 23 June - the second to open in the city in less than a year following the opening of Grand Casino Tirana in August 2020. Located in Sheshi Italia, Tirana, Royal Eagle Casino opened with just over 200 slots and 10 tables.


"We were very happy to be selected to provide the full system and jackpot solution to Grand Casino Tirana last year and are obviously very proud to have been chosen again to now provide our technology to Royal Eagle. One can’t really ask for any better type of endorsement can you?," said DR Gaming Technology (DRGT) CEO, Jurgen De Munck.


Royal Eagle Casino installed DRGT's full multi- currency management systems across the property’s slots and tables, inclusive of player tracking, player interfaces, cash desk and cage solutions, and a number of system-driven jackpots.


"We’ve seen the benefits of player tracking, and the ability to then tailor bonusing and jackpots for specific players or specific types of players at Grand Casino Tirana," added General Manager, Petr Kulhánek. "It’s done wonders for our players’ experience, and our numbers, and I have no doubt that the team we have trained here at Royal Eagle will be able to do the same."


CZECH – SAZKA Group saw its gross gaming revenue (GGR) increase by 30 per cent year-on- year to €526m for the three months to 31 March 2021 with Adjusted EBITDA up by four per cent year-on-year to €144m and profit up by 44 per cent year-on-year to €35m. The company stated: "Certain COVID-19 restrictions were reintroduced in our markets in November 2020 which continued to impact our physical retail network in Greece and our casinos in Austria and internationally in Q1.


“The vast majority of the physical retail POS of our businesses in the Czech Republic, Austria and Italy have remained open and continue to sell our products. Therefore, the measures have once again not had a material impact on our sales through the physical retail channel in Austria, the Czech Republic and Italy. Online sales, which increased significantly during 2020, have continued to grow strongly.”


MALTA – Playson has appointed Tamas Kusztos to the newly- established role of Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Bringing a varied and extensive portfolio of experience, Kusztos has enjoyed


successful stints at the likes of Quickspin, Betsson Group and most recently as Head of Sales and Account Management at Kalamba Games.


P14 WIRE / PULSE / INSIGHT / REPORTS


Switzerland's land-based gaming sector was hit with full force by the pandemic during the lockdown phases due to the closure of the casinos, with GGR down by 39 per cent or CHF250m to CHF452m. Tis decrease in earnings resulted in a decrease in the amount of the casino tax paid by the casinos. In 2020, the casinos paid a total of CHF 198m in casino taxes for their terrestrial activities, which corresponds to a decrease in tax income of CHF159m compared to the previous year (down 44.6 per cent). Of this, CHF170m went to the AHV compensation fund (down 41.1 compared to 2019) and around CHF 28m (down 47.2 compared to 2019) to the cantons of casinos with a B license.


Te seven casinos that offered online games achieved gross gaming revenue of CHF186.8m; this compared to the CHF23.5m that the four casinos that were operating at the time generated in 2019. Te taxes on the online casino game amounted to CHF78m in 2020, which went to the AHV compensation fund (compared to CHF7.5m in 2019).


Overall, the casinos were able to generate tax revenues of CHF248m in 2020 in favor of the AHV compensation fund. Tis amount


Zurich to allow slot gaming outside of casinos


Switzerland


From the start of next year, slot machines will be allowed in Zurich outside of casinos, in restaurants, bars and slot halls, for the first time since 1994. Te new law is a direct result of the Federal Gambling Act, which was approved via a referendum three years ago. Operators of slots in Zurich will have to pay 10 per cent of the gross revenue to the canton, more than in any other canton. Te money raised is to fund the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.


Maintaining a ban on slots outside of casinos, would have compelled the canton to also ban online gaming. Proponents of the new law had claimed player protection for slot


corresponds to a decrease of CHF64m compared to 2019 (down 20.46 per cent).


At its meeting on June 11, 2021, the Federal Council took note of the annual report of the Swiss Federal Gaming Board (ESBK) for 2020. Te year under review was particularly marked by a significant increase in online casino activities. Te income generated as a result was able to partially compensate for the losses that land-based casinos had to accept due to the Covid 19 pandemic.


In 2020, the Federal Council extended their licence to three other casinos to include the right to offer online games. Tese are in addition to the six concession extensions granted in 2019. Te range of online casino games is therefore increasing noticeably in Switzerland.


Te increase in this new offering means that the casinos' duties of care are also becoming more extensive. Tis concerns the protection of the population from the dangers emanating from gambling. Te ESBK is aware that the social protection that the casinos must guarantee is a central element of the new gaming law. It has therefore focused its monitoring activities on this area.


gaming is much better now than in 1994. Slots outside of casinos won’t be pure gaming machines and must be designed in such a way that players can become more skilled over time and increase their chances of winning. Maximum wagers and winnings are also limited.


FDP Cantonal Councilor, Christian Müller, said: “Te ban is no longer relevant. Tis was also proven by experiences from the surrounding cantons, where slots have been back for a long time and there has not been a dramatic increase in gambling addiction.”


Mark Wisskirchen, Cantonal Councilor, said: "Instead of levying a levy on gaming revenue and investing it in prevention, it would be wiser to practice prevention at the root and not set up machines. Now the canton is torpedoing its own prevention efforts.”


Serbia


Stakelogic has acquired Serbia- based developer Smart&Applied to enhance and grow its in- house game development capacity. Smart&Applied was founded by Igor Marinkovic as a game studio. Te company has been working with Stakelogic for the past three years, making it the ideal acquisition target for the slot developer. Following the acquisition, Smart&Applied will be rebranded to Stakelogic Serbia with Marinkovic appointed as General Manager of the division. Te company will also move into a new, state-of- the-art office in the centre of Belgrade later this year. Stephan van den Oetelaar, CEO of Stakelogic, said: “Te acquisition of Smart&Applied really strengthens our in-house development capacity and will allow us to continue to grow at pace while delivering new content to the market on a regular basis.”


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