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Casinos Austria doubles down in Liechtenstein

By - 11 November 2020

Casinos Austria International is expanding its business in Liechtenstein: Casino 96 in Balzers complements Casino Schaanwald as its second casino in the country.

Three years after its successful start in Schaanwald, CAI has opened its second casino in Liechtenstein in September 2020 with Casino 96 in Balzers. Having previously positioned itself both in the north of the country directly on the Austrian border, CAI has now opened up in the south on the border with Switzerland.

The opening was originally planned for autumn 2019, but the start was delayed by a year due to construction objections. It has opened 75 slot machines and four tables for live games are available on 280sq.m.

Even after the shutdown, CAI’s Casino Schaanwald is performing at a high level again, with the good levels of business allowing CAI to finally open its second casino in Liechtenstein in September 2020.

Martin Frommelt, Media Manager of Casinos Austria (Liechtenstein) AG, said: “The concept in Balzers differs significantly from Schaanwald. The name and furnishings are unique and underline the claim to be a “different” casino that doesn’t exist anywhere in the area.

“Last but not least, the design in the design of a traditional industrial factory is a reference to the location. The casino is located on Fabrikstrasse, the name of which goes back to one of the oldest Liechtenstein industrial companies, which is now part of the Swiss Oerlikon Group and continues to be very successful.

Casino Director Christian Aumüller added: “Balzers may not be the first casino in Liechtenstein, but it is definitely the coolest. We are convinced that the market is not overheated, but that many guests have wished for the philosophy that we represent and that this has so far been missing in the market. The name ‘Casino 96’ is derived from the Balzner postal code 9496.

“The design and appearance stand for authenticity and technical innovations like the Diamond Jackpot, the first jackpot on a multi- roulette system in Liechtenstein.

“The name should reflect the feeling of freedom and coolness, but also convey reliability. Our casino will be a place where you can feel comfortable. Our aim is to convey to our guests with personal service that they are welcome and can have a good time in a relaxed atmosphere.

“In terms of design, we wanted to move away from the traditional image of a casino in order to convey to our guests visually.”

Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Martin Meyer commented: “With the Balzers location, a completely different casino concept is being implemented that does not exist in such a wide area. Balzers also has a different target audience and geographically a different catchment area.

“We have thus strategically positioned ourselves in the far north against Austria and in the far south against Switzerland with different concepts. The second casino location underpins the claim to be one of the leading gaming providers in Liechtenstein and to secure the location against the competition in the long term.”

Three days before the opening, the start of Casino 96 in Balzers was duly celebrated on September 15 with a three-part pre-opening. At the big lunchtime reception, a large part of the Balzner Municipal Council, led by Head Hansjörg Büchel and Vice-Head Desiree Bürzle, as well as all the directors of the Liechtenstein casinos, were able to be welcomed, all of whom were therefore gathered at one event for the first time.

In the evening the celebrations continued with business partners, neighbours and representatives of village associations. The grand opening should be rescheduled later if the Corona conditions allow it again.

No fewer than 20 media representatives from four countries took part in the media conference: this corresponds to an extraordinarily high level of media interest for Liechtenstein standards.

The casino in Schaanwald opened in October 2017 with 130 slot machines and eight live game tables. In the second full year of operation in 2019, it was able to increase gross gaming revenue by almost 20 per cent compared to the previous year.

Although the casino density in Liechtenstein doubled in 2019, Schaanwald’s gaming results were almost 10 per cent higher than the previous year until the Corona shutdown in mid- March.

Due to the shutdown in connection with COVID-19, Schaanwald was also closed from mid-March to June 6. Since the reopening, the health of guests and employees has been guaranteed as best as possible with a comprehensive protection concept, including contactless temperature measurement terminals at reception.

Martin Frommelt, Media Manager of Casinos Austria (Liechtenstein) AG, said: “Schaanwald is a rare exception in the global casino market, which has collapsed massively due to COVID- 19, because Schaanwald operates at a pleasingly high level even after the Corona break.

“Although the casino, which is heavily geared towards events, has decided against such events and other marketing activities due to the special situation, and two more casinos are now active on the market, the figures in July and August were only around three per cent below the previous year: in view of the circumstances, it is a bright silver lining on the casino horizon.”

Director Thomas Pirron believes the unbroken success in Schaanwald is above all due to the quality management. “Our corporate philosophy is: friendly, creative, excellent. We work on this every day,” he explained, “and it is paying off, especially now after the Corona break.

“As we are currently unable to host large events, it is now even more important to improve in small steps. Our employees came back from the Corona break extremely motivated and this good atmosphere in the team is clearly being carried over to our guests. In terms of age structure, the guests are very evenly mixed between young and old.”

He is particularly pleased with the high proportion of women, which is up to 39 per cent, around five per cent above the industry average.

Right from the start, Schaanwald made sure to stand out from the competition. In 2017 it was the first casino in the world where you could play in two currencies (Swiss francs and euros). Another innovation of the house is the SNAP jackpot: this mystery jackpot falls every two hours.

There are now five casinos in the Principality of Liechtenstein, which is 160 square kilometers in size and has 39,000 inhabitants. Another casino is under construction in Schaan, and two other projects are currently under discussion.

In an international comparison, the casinos in Liechtenstein tend to be smaller operations with an average of nine gaming tables and 160 slot machines. In 2019, the four casinos with a total of around 350 employees generated gross gaming revenue of almost 81 million Swiss francs.

Schaanwald Director Thomas Pirron believes the casino market in Liechtenstein is now reaching saturation point: “Entering the market with two casinos was certainly a great success story. Last but not least, the development in neighbouring Switzerland has taught us that casino growth has limits.

“After the start of the first casinos in 2002, there was an initial boom in Switzerland. From 2008 onwards, however, gross gaming revenue fell by around 30 per cent for years before it started to pick up again from 2018.

Personally, I think that hardly more than four casinos will pay off in Liechtenstein in the medium term. But I am convinced that we in Schaanwald are ideally equipped for the tougher competition.”

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