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Holland Casino is preparing for recovery after a rough first half of the year, having been forced to close for more than 5 months due to measures taken against the COVID-19 pandemic.
As anticipated by the Dutch state-owned company, the extended closure had a negative impact on its financial results for the first half of the year. But as its 14 branches have been operating again since June 5, the operator now expects to post positive results for the second half of 2021.
Turnover achieved in June shows that Holland Casino will soon be able “to operate in a healthy manner” again. Moreover, after having completed “necessary restructuring,” the company expects to become a more efficient and agile organisation, according to a press statement released on Wednesday.
Turnover for H1 2021 posted a low €28.8 million. Net results for tax purposes amounted to a loss of €64.8 million, compared to a loss of €37.8 million over the same period in 2020, in which the company remained open for several months.
“Although Coronavirus also hit our company head-on in the first half of 2021, notably our anniversary year in which we celebrate 45 years in business, we still look ahead with confidence. All in all, Netherlands was deprived of legal casino offer for almost a year, but now that the measures are disappearing little by little, recovery is in sight,” Erwin van Lambaart, CEO of Holland Casino, said.
“We see bright spots in the potential offer of online games of chance as of October 1, for which we have applied for a license, and the opening of our new world-class casino branches in Venlo and Utrecht,” van Lambaart added.
CFO Ruud Bergervoet considers that having sufficient liquid assets in the past six months was key to the company getting through the difficult period of closure. That, along with the NOW scheme, the deferral of tax payments, strict cost control measures and tight operation management, led to the company being able “to safeguard the continuity” of its operations over the past year and a half.
“The significant tax debt of €190.5 million is offset by a strong liquidity position without bank debt. We are therefore considering paying off this tax debt more quickly if no new Coronavirus measures are introduced and the recovery actually continues. The results after June are promising in that regard,” Bergervoet said.
Despite all branches now being open, certain pandemic measures are still being enforced, and Holland Casino is receiving guests at limited capacity in its gambling venues. The company expects that these measures will be phased out, with the hope to open at full capacity and without restrictions “towards autumn.”
“We are also looking forward to the reintroduction of poker, live bingo and our NXT zones so that gaming can really be experienced together again. We also hope to be able to offer our bars and restaurants after midnight, which currently all close at midnight,” van Lambaart said.