CASINO

Swiss casino growth pokes holes in online gambling narrative

TAGs: grand casino baden, stadtcasino ag, Switzerland

switzerland-casino-baden-revenueOne of Switzerland’s leading brick-and-mortar casino operators posted revenue gains in 2017, despite ongoing competition from internationally licensed online gambling rivals.

This week, Stadtcasino AG’s Grand Casino Baden reported gross gaming revenue of CHF60.4m (US$62.2m) in 2017, a 1.3% improvement over 2016’s figure and the property’s first annual growth since 2012. The venue welcomed 346k guests last year, up 4.4% from the previous year.

Grand Casino Baden CEO Detlef Brose hailed the 2017 results as “a great success” considering “the difficult market conditions” and ongoing construction work on a major traffic hub adjacent to the casino.

Brose credited the 2017 turnaround to the company’s new ‘house of entertainment’ strategy, which includes new gambling products – such as the internally developed blackjack variant Black James – a new slots area, high-quality restaurants, live music performances on weekends and an enhanced player loyalty program.

Grand Casino Baden’s 2017 growth mirrors the overall upward trend of Switzerland’s land-based casino sector, which in 2016 reported its first annual revenue growth since 2007.

Somehow, Switzerland’s casino sector was able to rebound despite the ongoing activity of internationally licensed online gambling operators, which the Swiss Federation of Casinos has routinely singled out as the principal cause of its revenue decline.

Switzerland’s elected officials approved new gambling legislation last year that includes plans to block the domains of unauthorized gambling sites. But this domain-blocking plan appears likely to face a voter referendum, and thus its implementation is anything but assured.

Even worse, the delay in implementing this protectionist plan to censor the online choices of Swiss citizens poses a problem for the local casinos’ narrative. If online gambling is still unjustly drinking the casinos’ milkshake, then how come the casinos’ glass is getting fuller?

Using Brose’s own words, an improved product and greater attention to customer relations was enough to turn his casino’s fortunes around. (Who’da thunk it?) Guess Swiss cheese isn’t the only thing full of holes.

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