Greeks are heading across the border to Macedonia in their droves to enjoy the cheaper offerings that the cross border-neighbours offer. Bad news for land-based gaming providers is that the cheaper rates also apply to casinos and it has seen gaming establishments in the Northern part of Greece struggling.
According to GamblingCompliance, Greek casino consultant Thomas Antoniadis, said, “This is of great concern for the Greek casinos, especially recently given that northern Greece is one of the worst hit areas in the economy.”
He also added that players have “definitely been absorbed” from the Northern city of Thessaloniki as well as border towns where the unemployment has hit 50%. Regency Casino Thessaloniki has been one of the hardest hit. Their declining revenues almost saw the creditors move in to take over on Friday as owners Regency Entertainment struggle with mountainous debts.
Over the border estimates have it that Macedonia’s Las Vegas, Gevgelija, is continuing to make around €300m in revenue. The majority of that is thought to come from Greek residents. The city’s largest site, Princess Casino, receives 90% of its players from Greece who come to play in the venue’s 512 slots and 36 gaming tables.
One unrepentant gaming machines supplier commented, “If I was Greek, I would be angry too. The euro has more spending power here – your money always goes further in a developing country.
“Plus we have better service. We have higher jackpots and our slots have better payouts of 92 percent plus rather than the Greeks’ 85 percent plus.”
Alongside Macedonia “stealing” their customers, land-based operators have competition from online operators to contend with. This is in addition to tighter inspections on the smoking ban and slot machines appearing outside of the casino walls. Someone get them a cigarette and a stiff drink!