Happy Thanksgiving from GGB; Newsletter Returns December 4

Austria Opens to Competition

Austria’s gaming monopoly is history, brought to a close by a German-Swiss consortium, which has won a license to open a resort in Vienna in the historic Palais Schwarzenberg (l.), the first to compete with Casinos Austria in 60 years. The newcomers will feature 28 table games and 290 slots and will cost €100 million.

Casinos Austria’s 60-year monopoly in its home country has come to an end after a German-Swiss consortium won a license to open a casino in the capital of Vienna.

The Austria Ministry of Finance recently awarded Grand Casino Wien one of Vienna’s two new casino concessions. An international joint venture led by Stadtcasino Baden Group, operator of Grand Casino Baden near Zurich and Casino Davos in Switzerland, Grand Casino Wien with its German partner Gauselmann Group will develop an upscale casino and entertainment project in the historical Baroque-style Palais Schwarzenberg.

With a renovation cost of $137 million, the Grand Casino Vienna will offer 290 slot machine and 28 table games, with exclusive gaming tables in the  palace’s elegant ceremonial and representation rooms. The venue also will feature spacious bars, lounges and smoking areas, plus a multifunction entertainment room. In addition, the Schwarzenberg family foundation, partner of Grand Casino Vienna, plans to open a boutique hotel in one wing. An underground parking facility will hold more than 200 vehicles.

Hubertus Thonhauser, chairman of the board of directors of the Grand Casino Vienna operating company, said construction will begin immediately and take 12 months to complete. The board will work closely with the Austrian Federal Monuments Office, he noted. “This fast kickoff is possible because the planning and approval processes have been advanced already during the tender process for the concession. The objective is to create a contemporary and modern interpretation of a classical casino, putting Vienna on the international map of casino destinations,” Thonhauser said.

Detlef Brose, chief executive officer of Stadtcasino Baden AG, said, “We are more than happy about this decision but at the same time fully aware that it is associated with a large degree of responsibility. We are committed to create a casino of international appeal that Vienna merits. We want to offer our guests unparalleled gaming and entertainment experience, combined with a successful mix of restaurants, bars and events. Beyond that Grand Casino Vienna will also adopt a leading approach in responsible gaming, gained on our home market in Switzerland for more than a decade.”

Grand Casino Wien primarily will target local customers as well as players from Asia, Russia and the Middle East.