Jaldung (Eca): “Casino is crucial in the tourist offer of an area”
Per Jaldung, president of Eca, highlights the importance that gambling houses have in the overall tourist “package” of the area.
Weare not in Las Vegas, nor in Macau. But when we talk about tourism, European casinos have a lot to tell. Per Jaldung, president of the European Casino Association, is sure of this, and highlights: “Casinos are very much part of the tourist appeal of the communities in which they are based. Many attract tourists from across Europe and even the world in some cases, for instance from Asia. Modern casinos are increasingly providing more than just gambling, but also offer high-class restaurants, bars and shows.
A recent economic impact report of the licensed land-based casino industry showed that the estimated total spend by nternational visitors to the licensed landbased casino industry including the casino visit, is estimated at over €3 billion. This is an important contribution to local economies. The tourist appeal also comes from the investment in heritage conservation, such as investments in old buildings funded by casinos, as in Venice, San Remo, Stockholm, Baden Baden, or the Hippodrome Casino in London. The economic impact report demonstrated that over €11 billion was invested by Eca members into infrastructure and product offers over last ten years”. According to the President of Eca: “The location of the casino is important to determine what the offer can be. It should include entertainment, various F&B opportunities and shows. It is the overall experience of a visit to the casino that makes it attractive – not only the gambling offer. It is also crucial for the casinos to be closely attuned to local situation and interests”.
Could the limitations to gaming advertising have negative consequences on the activity of the casinos, as happens in Italy?
“The impact of the ban on the licensed industry is of great concern for us. The most immediate impact is however for consumer protection. Without the possibility for advertising by nationally licensed gambling operators, customers struggle to differentiate between licensed and unlicensed providers. They would therefore be more likely to choose the unlicensed offer, which presents severe issues for consumer protection. It is important to note that
the core ethos of gambling advertising for the nationally licensed land-based casino industry is responsibility and sustainability. Hence, there is a need to implement a strict regulation that allows gambling advertising to channel the demand towards legal and licensed gambling operators, while stopping advertising for illegal gambling operators”.
What do you think about the health of European casinos, on the whole?
“The industry has been stable for the last few years with growth in some areas. There are some exciting new projects on the way such as an Integrated Casino Resort in Cyprus, and a new Casino in Finland. The trend is to further develop an overall entertainment offer that attracts customers beyond just gambling. This is necessary to compete with the pure gambling that online casinos offer, including shows, restaurants and other leisure activities. The licensed and strictly regulated industry is however still negatively impacted by illegal online and land-based gambling, leading to major issues that undermine the regulatory framework and consumer protection” In Italy, the Casino di Campione has been closed for a year, with very serious consequences for the entire community.
What do you think and what do you hope about it?
“We were devastated to hear about the closure, especially as a result of the negative impact on the local community and employees. This is a very difficult situation for all stakeholders involved. We hope that the casino can either reopen or be re-purposed and the employees find new positions”.
(The full interview is shown in the July/August issue of the Gioco News magazine, which can also be read online.)