Switzerland may be the land of milk and honey and rich offshore wealth, but this does not necessarily translate into gambling revenues as the country’s newest casino demonstrates.
Casino Zurich, operated by Swiss Casinos Holding, had opened last November and posted a turnover of only CHF 70 million in its first two months instead of the CHF 100 million previously expected.
The relatively modest showing impacted the performance of the whole group, ending the year CHF 7.8 million in the red, a sharp contrast with the CHF 5.2 million profit the year before.
Casino Zurich is the fifth brick-and-mortar establishment of Swiss Casinos Holding, which contributed CHF 72 million in gambling taxes to the alpine nation’s budget in 2012.
Company chiefs claim that the results were not the group’s fault. “In general, the industry is facing an economic downturn”, said Peter Meier, Member of the Board of Director. That may certainly be true, considering that the money wagered at Swiss casinos dropped by nearly 9% in 2012, adding up to a five year decrease of 25%.
Figuratively speaking, casino group executives are not sitting on their hands, though. Since Swiss gambling laws permit online casinos from 2018, Swiss Casinos Holding is already getting ready by operating free online games, including all the usual classics like slots, poker and other table games.
Although it does not offer real-money prizes, this Swiss internet casino allows winners to cash in their points for various prizes ranging from drinks and prepaid slot cards to restaurant and hotel packages. At this stage it is more of a marketing tool, since claiming a prize requires paying a visit to one of the group’s land-based casinos.
The approximately 4,000 players who have registered for the free games so far do not constitute a large crowd. Nevertheless, Swiss Casinos Holding hopes that there will be enough gamblers from 2018 who want to play online poker in Switzerland, to boost the group’s bottom line in the long run.