French casino owners find themselves in a worrying and particularly alarming situation. The 196 French land based casinos are showing negative results and things are getting worse from year to year. Turnover is down by 1.8% and the gross income from gaming (the difference between players’ bets and the winnings paid out by the casinos) is also in a bad way.
However, the casinos have tried to reverse the situation by investing massively (in particular in smoking rooms), by offering one armed bandits with low bets, by diversifying their business… In spite of all this effort the players haven’t materialised and when they did, business didn’t always improve. It must be admitted that the economic situation prevents players from spending like they did five years ago. In fact, the present recession is causing players to limit their leisure budget and the numbers entering casinos is decreasing due to the legalisation of online gaming as well as the ban on smoking.
Some casinos will close
Now, gaming sector professionals are worried about the future of casinos. Some are on the point of closing their casino and this is the reason why the trade unions have decided to react. Three trade unions – the Modern French Casinos trade union, the French Casinos and the Association of French Independent Casinos – wrote to the Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, on the 20th of December last in order to inform him of the situation for real casinos. They also hope that opening hours can be more flexible and that they will be allowed to offer new games. This has already been trialled and the results were promising because players were delighted to try the unusual games. All that’s missing now, is the government’s agreement.Casino owners are impatiently awaiting reform of the existing texts and are afraid that their demands may not be listened to. If this were the case, they would be forced to let a lot of staff go which is worrying given that they employ nearly 15 000 people. Towns and municipalities would also suffer.