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The Netherlands – Holland Casino sale likely to take another two years

By - 22 January 2018

The Netherlands’ junior Finance Minister Menno Snelm has said that the sale of the state-owned Holland Casino group probably won’t be completed until 2020.

The initial plan announced three years ago had been to sell the casinos by the end of 2017 but a ‘number of administrative hurdles’ have delayed the sale.

Ten of the 14 casinos will be sold off under their current name while the other four locations will be sold off as a group. The cabinet will also open up the casino market to new operators with two licenses set to bring added competition.

The State Secretary of Finance confirmed that preparations for the future privatisation are already underway adding that the onus was now on the Senate who still had to approve amendments to Dutch legislation on gambling. Holland Casino, which runs 14 casinos nationwide, was set up in 1974.

In the first half year of 2017, Holland Casino’s GGR increased to €309m, an improvement of two per cent compared to the same period in 2016. The growth was achieved through higher average spending per visit, up six per cent, despite fewer visitors, which were down three per cent.

Erwin van Lambaart, CEO of Holland Casino: “Due to the turbulent period surrounding the CAO negotiations, we did not have an easy spring, and those months have had a visible impact on our results. This also explains the decreased number of guests. But the figures show at the same time what kind of a resilient business we are. We are still well on course and the underlying positive trend of recent years is clearly continuing.”

The operator recently opened a completely new casino in Rotterdam in April 2017. This casino is the first in the Netherlands to be open 24 hours a day. It is also working on a new casino in Amsterdam-West to be housed in the Ven Amsterdam hotel. It will close its casino at Schipol Airport to open the new venue. Renovation plans for 2019 will focus on Venlo and Utrecht whilst Holland Casino and the municipality of Groningen, where the old casino was destroyed by a fire last year, are working together to find a new location.

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