Switzerland – Stadtcasino Baden Group hoping for two new casino concessionsBy Phil - 28 February 2022
The Stadtcasino Baden Group has put its cards on the table with regards to the upcoming new licensing round for the Swiss casino sector with the casino group from Baden submitting three application, one for its existing Grand Casino Baden, and two new licences for Locarno and Solothurn.
Jürg Altorfer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Stadtcasino Baden Group, said: “We have been proving in Baden for 20 years that we can successfully operate a casino. And we are convinced that with our casino concept we are also able to create added value for the entire region elsewhere.” Central to this is the “House of Entertainment” approach. “We see the classic casino business as a core business, around which we group other attractive offers.” In Baden, for example, these are the gastronomy or the “Club Joy”, where concerts, comedy and club evenings or readings can take place.
“Our concept is to integrate ourselves optimally into the local economic and cultural conditions at each location.” That this succeeds is proven by a study of the parent company in Baden, which comes to the conclusion that the Grand Casino Baden achieves an annual added value of almost 100 million francs. With around CHF 250,000 annually, it also supports local cultural institutions or sports clubs.
The Stadtcasino Baden Group also wants to implement this concept at the planned new locations in Solothurn and Locarno, which fit well with the group strategy, as Altorfer believes. “Baden has 17,000 inhabitants and is located in the centre of a prosperous economic region. Solothurn has an equal population and is also a regional centre. Locarno has 15,000 inhabitants and is practically intertwined with the economically equally strong neighbouring municipalities and the entire Sopraceneri region. All three locations have a tourist and cultural tradition in which we want to fit in and further develop with our partners.”
While Baden and Locarno are already casino locations, Stadtcasino Baden AG in Solothurn is breaking new ground. “If you look at the map and the distribution of Swiss casinos, you will not miss the fact that there is a market in the region between Basel, Bern, Baden and Lucerne and thus the economic basis for a casino,” says Altorfer. Accordingly, the group had sounded out with the city authorities and assured itself of the support of the city of Solothurn.
“We have been in talks with those responsible for the Stadtcasino Baden Group for several weeks,” confirms Mayor Stefanie Ingold. For them, it is crucial that a casino in Solothurn can also be used to address other goals of urban development. “We have deposited with the managers of the Stadtcasino Group that we are very interested, for example, in a combination with a hotel operation. The people of Baden immediately took this up.” Altorfer confirms corresponding considerations, although a concrete location in Solothurn has not yet been found: “We have exchanged various ideas with the city managers regarding a location and are already in discussions. However, nothing has been decided yet. f you look at the map and the distribution of Swiss casinos, it is not hidden that there is a market in the region between Basel, Bern, Baden and Lucerne and thus the economic basis for a casino We have had intensive discussions with those responsible for the Stadtcasino Baden Group and have come to the conclusion that together we can create added value for the city of Solothurn.”
Ms Ingold added: “The Stadtcasino Baden Group pursues a casino concept that strengthens the region beyond the range of games with additional cultural and entertainment offers. The group is already doing this in Baden, and it promises to do the same in Solothurn. And to be embedded in our socio-cultural, social and economic network. In Baden, the casino achieves an annual added value of 100m, which sounds promising. The city is becoming more attractive, and the regional industry is also benefiting.”
“It is ultimately up to the initiators to speak out in favour of a location. We have exchanged various ideas that now need to be clarified. And we deposited our concern that the city of Solothurn would need an additional hotel. The Stadtcasino Baden Group immediately took this up.”
In Locarno, the location is already fixed. The Stadtcasino Baden Group would like to operate its casino there in the already existing casino in the Kursaal. To this end, it has concluded a lease agreement with the landlord, Kursaal Locarno SA, from 2025. “We were contacted by Kursaal Locarno SA and asked if we would be interested in continuing the casino operation in the Kursaal from 2025,” says Altorfer.
In Locarno, too, the ties between the Stadtcasino Baden Group and the political leaders are close. Alain Scherrer, Mayor of Locarn, who is also Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kursaal Locarno SA: “I was very positively impressed by the approach of the Stadtcasino Baden Group, which already showed great interest in the Locarno region at the first meetings with us. An interest that is not limited to pure business logic, but also strives for optimal local integration. I believe this approach is fundamental to a long-term, solid relationship that benefits both partners.”