Sunday March 8,2015 : BLACK INK FOR DUTCH STATE GAMBLING MONOPOLY AT LAST
First positive annual report in seven years.
The Holland Casino group, a state-owned gambling monopoly in the Netherlands, has posted its first profitable performance in seven years….good timing for the government's privatisation drive on the asset.
The publication Dutch News reports that the group posted a FY2014 profit of Euro 12 million, a massive improvement over the previous year, when it recorded a loss of Euro 22 million, the latest in a run of loss-making performances that lasted for seven consecutive years in all.
The improvement comes at a cost; in recent years the group has slashed headcount by almost 500 in restructuring moves to reduce costs.
The Dutch government plans to sell the casino group, which operates 14 land casinos. Ten are to be sold off in one lot which will retain the Holland brand, with the other four disposed of as individual casinos to private companies.
The sell-off should be completed by 2017, according to management estimates.
A company statement on the latest result claimed the enterprise is recovering after a year of extensive restructuring that has included moving away from the concept of a centralised management.
In anticipation of the government legalising and licensing online gambling (the latest official estimate in the much-delayed introduction of the new regulatory regime is mid-2016) the Holland Casino group inked an agreement with online gambling software provider Playtech plc last year
The legalization implementing the online gambling licensing system is currently bogged down in the Dutch parliament as politicians scrutinise and minutely question its content.