Things are going badly lately for the Brussels Casino no doubt due to a number of factors including the new anti tobacco law which forbids players from smoking in casinos. So they have to leave their favourite machines to go to the smoking room to answer the call of nicotine. In general, it used to be impossible to pull major players away from their seats because they were hypnotised in front of their machines smoking a cigarette, hoping to win the jackpot. However since the passing of the law banning smoking these major smokers spend more time in the smoking rooms than in front of their gaming machine. So income has fallen drastically. The world economic crisis is also having an impact on the way players gamble. But besides these two reasons for the Brussels casino’s difficulties, management made a serious error by basing itself on the Amsterdam casino to gauge the casino’s capacity. In fact, they are two different countries with two different populations and this option that was not taken into account and has caused a sharp decrease in the number of visitors to the Brussels casino. Moreover, annually the casino pays more than 800 000 euros in taxes which is 44% of its turnover as well as an astronomical rent even though the casino is almost empty most of the time.
Like almost all the Belgian casinos, the Brussels casino is in a critical financial state with a loss estimated at 80 million euros. This is why the Belgian Commission for Games of Chance has sent a letter to casino managements to force them to put forward concrete measures to take their turnover out of the red before the 7th of November next. If this is not done the casino runs the risk of having its gaming licence withdrawn. It must be said that the plan put in place recently by the management which involved closing the theatre and the panoramic restaurant as well as letting 150 employees go, has borne fruit: management predicts a loss of 2 million this year compared to 10.5 million last year, a clear improvement but it’s not enough to solve the financial problems in this casino. The shareholders will have to be very active up to the date fixed by the Gaming Commission in order to keep the gaming licence.
The Brussels or Viage casino is in a difficult situation at the moment and its fate is in the hands of its directors. They will have to convince the Gaming commission that they have a solution to this grave financial problem so that they don’t take away their gaming licence. We’ll wait until the 7th of November next to learn of the fate of the Belgian casino.