Liechtenstein: Casino boom at the end?

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Peter Brandt July 13, 2023

Five years ago, Liechtenstein was still considered a future casinometropolis, but now the boom seems to be abbot. With the “Casino 96” in Balzers, one of the casinos will close its gates in the principality on July 11th. As the operator, Casinos Austria International Holding GmbH (CAI), recently announced, an adaptation of the legal situation has completely changed the rules of the game on the local gaming market. For this reason, the group decided to close the “Casino 96” after only two years and to focus on the Schaanwald casino.

The government in Liechtenstein passed a new gambling law on January 1, 2023 that provides for stricter and more restrictive regulations. ((©Scott Graham/Unsplash)

Gambling market in change

In 2017, Liechtenstein provided its gambling market with liberal legislation and quickly became an attractive location for companies from the industry. In the past five years, the responsible Office for economics All in all Six licenses for national -based casinos awarded. The CAI, which built a casino at the Schaanwald and Balzers locations, received two concessions.

At that time, however, neither the CAI nor the industry experts and observers could guess that after just five years the gambling boom in Liechtenstein will be ended. The market in the Principality has been doing restrictive change for several months and thus cuts the economy of the casino operators. For this reason, the CAI has decided to give up the location in Balzers.

Analyse. The CAI has initiated comprehensive analyzes for its decision to determine the status quo of the gaming market in Liechtenstein. The results indicate that the offer density in the country will increasingly decrease due to the changing framework conditions. The group therefore only wants to pay its attention to a single casino.

Restructuring for more stability

Even if the casino in Balzers will hire its operation on July 11, the CAI sees no reason to lose economy. Since the location is released new resources, that should Remaining casinos strengthened in the future will.

The press release states that the strengthening of Schaanwald was the right step in order to be able to establish itself on the market in Liechtenstein in the long term. At the same time, the focus on a single location enables visitors to one significantly more attractive casino and entertainment experience to offer.

Overall, the restructuring of the activities in Liechtenstein ensure more stability. For example, most employees of the casino in Balzers are continued at the Schaanwald location.

Termination & support. Despite a high further employment rate, the CAI cannot integrate the entire workforce of the “Casino 96” into the processes of the location in Schaanwald. Accordingly, some employees have to leave the company. However, those affected are not on their own. The CAI has assured its support in the professional realignment.

Does the change in the law end the boom phase?

The closure of the “Casino 96” could herald the end of the gambling boom in Liechtenstein. Sabine Monauni, the Minister of Economic Affairs of the Principality, recently led the new legal situation as the reason for closing the casino in Balzers. In their opinion, it is very likely that Continue to shrink gambling offer in the future becomes.

The new gambling law in Liechtenstein has been in effect since January 1, 2023 and has the former liberal interpretation of the market heavily chiseled. For example, the casinos in the country must make twice as high tax taxes. The playful processes have also changed significantly since the beginning of the year. Among other things, the casinos’ range of games was circumcised. The former ratio of gaming tables to slot machines from 1:20 was reduced to 1:15. In the area of regulation and monitoring, stricter regulations also apply.

The latest legal adaptation goes back to the continuing criticism of the population. Already at the opening of the market in 2017, the government had to endure the displeasure of the citizens for their approach. Many people in Liechtenstein were concerned that the liberal handling of the gaming market was a kind of “Las Vegas of Europe” let go. However, the much stricter legal framework may have evaporated any worries.

Citizens’ initiative. In the past five years, the worst opponents of the gambling in Liechtenstein have come together to form associations and initiatives to banish the casinos from the country. For example, in May 2023, the “IG Volks opinion” citizens’ initiative submitted a referendum to the government to repay the principality of gambling facilities. If the request is approved, all casinos must stop operating within the next five years.