his transaction should be concluded by the end of the year. The two establishments of Groupe Partouche, however, show an extremely healthy picture.
At the present time, the group holds 40% of the casino of Meyrin, the remaining capital being owned by Isidore Partouche. In 2006, it achieved a turnover of 48 million Euros, with 35% market share. However, its development is hampered by its type B licence, which does not allow the casino to own more than 150 slot machines and accept bets of more than 3.8 euros.
Its application for a type A licence has been refused at the beginning of the year by the Swiss Federal Gaming Board (Commission fédérale des maisons de jeu - CFMJ). In Crans-Montana, the GGR reached 3 million euros last year, which represents an increase of 22.8%, as compared to the previous financial year. Together with the two main shareholders, Groupe Partouche and Isidore Partouche, six communes form part of the capital of the establishment. Crans-Montana also owns a type B licence.
For now, the gaming market is stuck with 19 casinos in Switzerland, since the CFMJ refused to allow any new establishment for the coming three years, while two licences granted five years ago to casinos which closed down (Arosa and Zermatt), have not been re-allocated. The Federal Council itself did not give in to opening new casinos while towns such as Bienne, Neuchâtel, Lausanne and Zurich were on the list.
It is assumed, although not confirmed, that, in three years, new licences could be granted, in Lausanne for example. Anyway, this would seriously undermine the potential of Meyrin as well as that of Montreux, an establishment which forms part of Groupe Lucien Barrière, and the only one to own a type A licence in this Swiss region, with 367 slot machines and 22 gaming tables.
Moreover, the casino margin, at least for those situated in ski resorts such as Crans-Montana, could increase appreciably.
In its 2006 report, the CFMJ said it was in favour of softening up table games, whose operational costs are “comparatively higher” than those of slot machines. “The legal bases, it says, should then be modified so that the CFMJ, in some cases and upon request, can authorize the casinos, during some specific periods, particularly on certain days during the off-season, to use slot machines only”.