If Groupe Partouche’s financial results are any indication, the French are returning to casinos in droves. The France-based gaming company reported a 490% year-on-year revenue increase for its second quarter, covering February to April.
The period saw a gross gaming revenue of €148.2 million (US$154.5 million), an increase of €35.1 million (US$36.48 million) over the same period in the previous year. Partouche, however, did not give any details about its expenses or final profits.
The company pointed out that the quarter was affected by certain activities. It highlighted the sale of its stake at the Crans-Montana Casino in Switzerland and the halting of online gambling in Belgium.
French Casinos Back Online
The second-quarter performance improved the company’s turnover in the first half of the year. This figure was €187.2 million (US$194.61 million) compared to €47.2 million (US$49.07 million) in 2021.
Tax and other official expenses in the first half were €136.6 million (US$141.92 million). This resulted in net gaming revenue of €153.4 million (US$159.4 million). Year over year, this is an increase of 246.3%.
Non-gaming revenue was €35.2 million (US$36.57 million). As a result, and accounting for €1.4 million (US$1.45 million) in fidelity program costs, Groupe Partouche had total revenue of €187.2 million (US$194.44 million). This represents a year-on-year increase of 296.6%.
The reopening of French land-based casinos following the relaxation of COVID-19 measures led to a significant rise in gambling. Health restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus led to the closure of French casinos in the second quarter of 2020-21.
However, Groupe Partouche’s Swiss properties only opened toward the end of that period. Another venue, the only casino in Tunisia, shut down daily at 10 PM during the pandemic.
In the period, certain measures were still in effect, including the requirement to show a vaccination card at French casinos. This ended on March 13, but while it was in place, traffic to the venues slowed significantly. The company faced a similar situation in Switzerland; however, that country removed the restriction in the middle of February.
Partouche stated that online gambling in Switzerland generated €3.3 million (US$3.43 million) in the quarter. This was an increase of 200% over the previous year.
Overcoming Huge Obstacles
All French casinos closed their doors completely during the second quarter of the previous financial year. This was due to the government’s general measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The casino in Ostend, Belgium, also shut down.
As of April 19, 2021, the Swiss casinos of Meyrin and Crans-Montana began to welcome back customers without any curfew. However, they had to respect health restrictions.
The Djerba Casino in Tunisia remained open during the period, but adhered to a government-initiated curfew. Fortunately for Groupe Partouche, online gaming launched in Switzerland in November 2020. In addition, Belgian betting and games were both active throughout the quarter.
As a result of the health restrictions, attendance at French casinos was down by -19.7% compared to the second quarter of 2019. Still, average per-player spending increased by over 20% to €89 (US$92.44). Moreover, since the government removed the restrictions, attendance has increased by 13.7%.
Win Some, Lose Some
Groupe Partouche’s Hyeres Casino reopened its entire operation on April 15. This followed a lengthy period of refurbishment that the operator suspended previously due to COVID-19.
The 1,500-square-meter (16,145 square feet) property underwent a complete re-design. The outdoor terrace now offers electronic roulette and slot machines and a new restaurant has been built with 100 seats and private spaces. The casino also added a new entrance to serve the theater hall and separate it from the casino.
Groupe Partouche will also keep a concession to operate a casino in the city of Cabourg. The city council approved the renewal for another 12 years. However, it will cost the operator €580,000 (US$603,142) a year in rent, as well as additional money in taxes and levies.
The company lost out on what could have been a promising deal. It was going to be a partner in an integrated resort in Wakayama, Japan, alongside Clairvest Neem Ventures. Unfortunately, when Wakayama canceled the dream, Groupe Partouche lost, as well.
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