With municipal-owned Casino Campione d’Italia facing an involuntary bankruptcy petition, the municipality’s mayor is proposing to cut municipal staff salaries in a last ditch attempt to stave off closure.
The municipal casino posted a deficit of CHF8m ($8.3m) for the first time in 2012, and since then its losses have increased to more than CHF39m.
The property’s 2016 balance sheet showed assets of CHF21m and liabilities of over CHF65m, including bank debt of CHF39m with Banca Popolare di Sondrio.
The Como Public Prosecutor’s Office has been investigating the accounts of the municipal-owned company which operated the casino for months amid accusations of financial misconduct, and has called for an insolvency plan to be put into place.
A court hearing on the involuntary bankruptcy petition is scheduled for 12 March.
By law, the casino must transfer a fixed sum each year to the municipality – an Italian enclave within the Swiss canton of Ticino – but for months it has failed to pay any contributions meaning it now owes the municipality E25m.
The municipality’s mayor, Roberto Salmoiraghi, is attempting to stave off the forced bankruptcy by proposing to cut municipal staff salaries by 20 percent and called a shareholders meeting in January to discuss the proposal.
“This is about saving the casino,” said Salmoiraghi. “If the casino fails to transfer the resources it owes to the city, it could be shut down, however, if that happens, it will no longer pay anything and so that would be the end of everything.
“I hope to be able to apply the salary cuts to municipal employees with the agreement of the unions.”
The original casino was built in 1917 but was replaced in 2007 by a new nine-floor property hosting 56 gaming tables and 500 slot machines.