irector Simon Bayley explains that as is the case in similar resorts around the world, gambling is just one of the many activities visitors will come for. World class entertainers, an aqua park, shopping, bars and discos will also be on tap for the guests staying in the 500 hotel rooms that will make up the first phase of construction.
“The customer they’re looking for is the one who comes and enjoys the whole experience and might only spend 100 euros on gambling,” says Bayley. He said Bratislava was chosen in part because it sits on the border of the richer half of Europe and the newer, faster growing east. The country’s pro-business, reform-minded government has also convinced the developer in recent meetings that Slovakia will retain its attractive business environment.
But the location was also chosen because it sits just 20 minutes between a pair of international airports and a three-hour drive from the homes of nearly 20 million people. More precisely, the resort will be located on the D2 between Bratislava and the Hungarian border where the ÖMV petrol station currently operates.
As for the gambling, it has far less to do with the elite, black-tie world of Monte Carlo than it does with the casinos of Las Vegas, where customers walk around in shorts and sandals. “This is an opportunity for Slovakia to diversify its economy,” says Bayley. “We should bring in an extra 5 to 6 million people per year.”
He insists that there are serious benefits for the state as well. “With this business model, you pay all the normal corporate tax, the property tax, the VAT, so all the turnover that goes through the project is subject to those normal taxes. The difference is the casino part of the project gets additional taxes that the government takes in based on the turnover in the casino. That’s standard around the world.”
There’s a competing project that’s been in the works across the border in Hungary for a couple of years now, but Bayley isn’t overly concerned. “It doesn’t worry us that much because if it happens then it strengthens that region of Europe as really becoming an entertainment hub. We feel comfortable enough in our partner that even if they go through with it, it won’t damage or stop us from going forward.”