The government of Holland’s programme to privatise the state- owned operator Holland Casino has been delayed until 2020.
The sale of the 14-strong casino body, established in 1974 to offer a legal alternative to illegal gambling, was originally proposed in 2012 by the Dutch coalition government, and set to be finalised by the end of this year, however a spokesman has reported that “a number of administrative hurdles” have yet to be overcome.
Approved by Dutch ministers in 2014, the privatisation proposed ten branches be sold off under their current name with the remaining four sold as a group, alongside two additional licenses.
However, the deal encountered its first obstacle when Holland Casino posted significant losses of E0.7m and E22m for the years 2012 and 2013 respectively.
The appointment of new CEO Erwin van Lambert in 2016 amid major cost cutting in the group restored Holland Casino to profit, however the sale is still facing delay, with van Lambert himself unsure as to how much the sale will generate.
“We cannot say yet. To our shareholder the financial benefits are not the only thing that matters. Every buyer will have its own strategic considerations with regard to how much they are willing to pay.”
Despite predictions of value based on current revenue, the new owners would also be faced with additional privatisation costs, including the 25 percent corporate tax not required to be paid by Holland Casino in previous financial reports.
Though the delay may frustrate potential buyers, a varied Dutch casino market encouraged by healthy competition will certainly be worth the wait.