International edition
September 19, 2020

The firm had also hoped to acquire London Clubs International (LCI)

Genting writedown of us$ 268 million on British casinos

(UK).- The Malaysian owner of British biggest casino operator says it lost almost us$ 268 million as a result of a rise in gaming duty and the smoking ban in England. Genting reported a us$ 266 million impairment loss against the value of the Stanley Casinos business it bought 14 months ago for us$ 1.3 billion, or over us$ 1.4 billion, including debt.

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he company said: “The impairment is largely attributable to the increase in gaming duty rates [from] April 2007.” Echoing comments made by many of its rivals, Genting complained that the duty increase “took the UK gaming industry by surprise as it was made without any prior consultation and indication”.

It said that profits had also been adversely affected by the introduction of the smoking ban in England on July 1. Genting did not break down the reduction in profits resulting from the duty increase, although it is likely to have been higher than the us$ 16.5 million decline predicted by Rank Group, the second-biggest operator.

Stanley, whose portfolio of 46 casinos includes Britain's oldest, Crockfords in Mayfair, contributed revenue of us$ 111.3 in the three months to September 30. Many of its 41 casinos outside London trade under the Circus, Maxims and Mint brands. When it took Stanley private last year, Genting said it saw the company as “a platform for expansion in the soon-to-be deregulated UK gaming industry”.

However, delays to plans to award 17 new casino licences under the Gambling Act have been delayed by the controversy surrounding the single supercasino envisaged under the new legislation.

Genting had also hoped to acquire London Clubs International (LCI), in which it held a 29.8 per cent stake. LCI opted to accept a us$ 670 million takeover by Harrah's Entertainment, the Las Vegas gaming behemoth, just a few weeks after the Stanley deal.

Harrah's, itself the subject of a recommended us$ 27.8 billion takeover by Apollo Management and TPG Capital, the buyout firms, that is due to be completed next month, has yet to post a writedown on the value of its British casino business.

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