Vienna – Brussels City Council yesterday voted to award its hotly contested new casino license to Casinos Austria International (CAI). Following the recommendations of the expert tender evaluation committee, and despite strong competition from French and Dutch operators, over 90 percent of Council members voted in favor of the Austrian bid. CAI will now become the operator of the first casino to open in the EU capital since changes to the law introduced in 1999 lifted a prior ban on casinos in Belgium. A total of seven casinos have since been opened in the country’s Flanders and Wallonia regions.
„We are honored to have been selected to develop the Brussels casino,“ said Paul Herzfeld, CEO of Casinos Austria International. „The new casino in Brussels is one of the most important casino licenses to be awarded in Europe, and we are extremely proud that it has gone to Casinos Austria International. The new casino and entertainment complex will be a valuable asset for the Brussels community and economy and will attract many new visitors to this exciting city.“
CAI attributes its success to the company’s extensive international experience and expertise, strong reputation for integrity, multicultural business approach, and the know-how it has built up through its network of operations worldwide, which includes casinos in a number of other capital cities around the world, such as Berne, Canberra, Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Prague, and Vienna.
The Brussels casino, which is due to open early 2005 with 30 gaming tables and 300 slot machines, will initially be located in temporary premises in the city’s „Salle de la Madeleine“ conference center while construction and renovation work is carried out at its permanent location in the new „Anspach Center“. Covering a total area of around 11,000 square meters, this city center complex will also house a conference and exhibition center, several restaurants, a hotel, and a shopping mall. With a total estimated investment of around EUR 30 million, the new Brussels casino will occupy an area of 4,000 square meters and will offer a total of 50 gaming tables and 500 slot machines.
Casinos Austria is a leading player in the international casino industry and currently operates 67 casinos in 15 countries and on board 14 luxury international cruise ships. In 2003, the company posted casino revenues of EUR 922 million, an increase of 28% over the previous year (2002: EUR 718 million), and welcomed around 16 million guests to its casino operations worldwide. In addition to its extensive activities in the casino sector, Casinos Austria is also active in the lottery, online gaming, and sports betting markets through its stakes in Austrian Lotteries and two specialized subsidiary companies (win2day.at and tipp3).