The European Commission has reportedly approved the deal that is to see Sazka Group and Osterreichische Beteiligungs AG jointly hold a controlling stake in prominent casino operator Casinos Austria AG.
According to a report from G3Newswire, the executive branch of the European Union revealed its decision last Tuesday after determining that the arrangement involving the Czech gaming operator and the state-owned holding company did not breach the bloc’s anti-competition rules. The source explained that Sazka Group earlier purchased a stake in Casinos Austria AG from European gaming machines giant Novomatic AG to take its aggregated interest up to 55.48% while Osterreichische Beteiligungs AG already held a 33.24% investment.
Vienna-headquartered Casinos Austria AG is reportedly responsible for twelve casinos in its home nation including the Casino Salzburg, Casino Zell Am See and Casino Innsbruck alongside gambling-friendly facilities in the countries of North Macedonia, Australia, Egypt, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. However, the operator has purportedly been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and detailed a first-half loss of approximately €10 million ($11.85 million) in September as its aggregated revenues tumbled by more than 30.5% to just €52.81 million ($62.58 million).
Casinos Austria AG reportedly moreover has around 3,400 employees including some 1,700 in Austria and declared that its first-half financials were negatively impacted as ‘the global economy contracted significantly’ owing to the coronavirus pandemic and ‘the sometimes-drastic measures taken to contain’ the highly-contagious illness.
Reportedly read a statement from Casinos Austria AG…
“The land-based gaming industry is one of the industries that was most severely affected. While Casinos Austria AG’s gaming revenues in January and February were 11% higher than in the previous year, all casinos had to shut down in March. The management immediately took all measures to curb costs. Fortunately, good gaming revenues have been achieved in the first few weeks since re-opening.”