London’s Ritz Hotel Casino reports huge losses

2016 was a good year for the Ritz Hotel Casino in London. The venue, which is owned by the Barclay brothers, reported a pre-tax profit of $11.64 million for the year, giving it a substantial foundation upon which to continue to build. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as well as the Barclay brothers would have liked for the its latest fiscal year and the casino saw a loss that completely wiped out the previous year’s pre-tax profit, and then some.

For the 2017 fiscal year, the Ritz reported a loss of $15.3 million (£11.7 million). Overall, the property’s revenue dropped to $29.1 million from the $43.1 million it reported in the year prior. It indicated that it has seen the same level of traffic between the two reporting years; however, profit was impacted by an increase in payouts to customers.

The company hopes to turn things around in 2018. It said in its revenue filing, “Efforts to encourage new Middle East and Far Eastern players remain focused and business in 2018 is expected to be more fortuitous.” Aidan Barclay, who is the son of David Barclay and sits on the company’s board, added, “Business in 2018 is expected to be more fortuitous.”

The Ritz hotel has been around since the beginning of the last century. It was previously a ballroom, a restaurant and an entertainment venue and the casino was added in 1977. The Barclay brothers purchased it in 1995.

There has been talk in the past that the Barclay brothers, who also own the Daily Telegraph, could try to sell The Ritz Club, the gambling portion of the venue. In December of last year, rumors circulated that the two had appointed an advisory company to manage the sale, but they never provided comments on the subject. They reportedly had been approached by someone interested in buying the property, at the time reportedly worth around $261.5 million.

Back in 2011, there was also an announcement that the brothers were considering the sale of the property. At the time, the Barclays said that they had received several takeover bids for the operation, but nothing further developed. The Ritz Hotel was said to be worth $817.2 million then, and a sale probably would have made a lot of sense in hindsight.

Melco confirms launch of 4 Cyprus satellite casinos in 2019

Melco International has announced that it plans on opening three of its satellite casino in Cyprus sometime before the end of this year. Those three – in Nicosia, Paphos and Larnaca – will later be followed by a fourth satellite casino in Ayia Napa, which should be open sometime in the spring of next year.

Melco confirms launch of four Cyprus satellite casinos by early next yearMelco has been moving on the satellite casinos since this past summer when it announced that it had joined forces with a local company to open a satellite casino in Larnaka International Airport on the southern coast of the Mediterranean island nation. That initial satellite casino is expected to have around 50 gaming machines.

That endeavor is made possible through a Melco-led consortium called Integrated Casino Resorts Cyprus Ltd. (ICR Cyprus). ICR Cyprus was issued a 30-year casino license in June of last year by the country’s government that authorized the Larnaka casino, as well as the additional four satellite casinos. The consortium is composed of Melco, which owns a 35.37% stake, Hard Rock International and a local company, Cyprus Phasouri (Zakaki) Ltd.

This past June, ICR Cyprus opened a temporary casino, the C2, in the southern city of Limassol. That casino is designed to give players a taste of what’s to come when Melco launches its City of Dreams Mediterranean (CODM) casino resort. C2 will stay open for three more years and is scheduled to close when CODM is completed in 2021.

CODM is expected to offer 1,200 gambling machines and 136 gaming tables. It will also include a luxury hotel with 500 rooms, a health spa and a concert hall with 1,500 seats. It carries a price tag of approximately $559 million and is expected to draw around 300,000 additional tourists to the island each year.

In the company’s interim report from this past Wednesday, Melco indicated that C2 has 13,993 square feet of gaming space and offers 258 slot machines and 33 gaming tables. It added that the casino had received more than 34,000 guests during the first three weeks of operation and that over 6,000 visitors had registered with the casino’s Rewards Club loyalty program.

Philippines bans casino staff from gambling at all gaming venues

Casino staff in the Philippines are no longer allowed to gamble in any of the country’s gaming establishments, apparently as a result of the government’s desire to temper local gambling appetites.

In an announcement posted to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) website, Angeline Papica-Entienza, Assistant VP of the Gaming Licensing and Development Department, announced that “all employees of licensees holding Gaming Employment License (GEL) are prohibited from playing in any gaming establishments in the Philippines.”

The notice, which was dated September 6, states that the names and relevant information of all GEL holders is to be integrated into the National Database of Restricted Persons (NDRP), a computerized database of individuals who are restricted from playing in gaming establishments operated and regulated by PAGCOR nationwide.

At the end of the second quarter of 2018, PAGCOR’s NDRP featured a total of 1,303 names, although 632 of these exclusions had since expired. Nearly two-thirds of these exclusions were sought by family members of the gambler, while most of the rest were gamblers who’d opted for self-exclusion.

The NDRP’s ‘licensee-emanating’ category featured only 13 names at the end of last year, but a further nine names were added in Q2 2018.

PAGCOR appears interested in avoiding the fate of Macau, where casino dealers have long been overrepresented on the local registry of problem gamblers, and some local loan sharks have made a solid business fuelling these dealers’ gambling activities.

It’s not just casino staff who are coming under closer scrutiny. Last year, the Philippines National Police decided to monitor its officers’ activities in casinos after some current and former cops were found to be involved in an illegal money-lending business that preyed on down-on-their-luck gamblers in Manila’s casinos.

The Philippines is home to a growing number of major integrated resort casinos that cater to a primarily international clientele, plus numerous smaller gaming halls scattered across the country that cater to local residents, as well as serving as the primary licensing hub for Asian-facing online gambling operators.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has run hot and cold toward the local gaming industry – lately more cold than hot – and his ‘unpredictability’ reportedly played role in Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s recent decision to delist its Philippine subsidiary from the local stock exchange.

Do you know what the biggest casino game is?

Casino games are enjoyed by millions of people all over the world and have been for many years. The emergence of the first online casinos in the late nineties enabled players to enjoy their favourite casino games from the comfort of their own home. However, the availability of mobile phones and publicly accessible wireless networks has meant that players have been able to enjoy their favourite Betfair casino table game at any time whilst being anywhere in the world.

The explosion of online casinos has resulted in the gambling industry ballooning in size over the past decade and generating billions of pounds every year. It is believed that ‘remote betting’, such as online casino games, online poker and online bingo, make up more than a third of the industry’s value.

With casino games such as blackjack, roulette and craps available, gamblers are able to play their favourite games wherever they want, whether that be in casinos or on online mobile casino apps.

The most popular casino game in the world at this moment in time is blackjack, which is also called “21”. The basic rules of the card game means that it attracts both new and experienced casino players. As the name “21” implies, the objective of the game is to get your card total as close to 21 as possible without going over, and having a higher total as the dealer. If you manage to ‘beat’ the dealer by beating his total or getting 21 then you win, if not you lose the amount of money that you bet.

It’s believed that blackjack generates the most money from casinos at this moment in time, but this could change in the near future.

As gambling fans, you will be aware of the different types of casino games that are available and their basic rules, but are you aware of the popularity of each game? This quiz has been created which requires players to guess the most popular game based on stats such as revenue share. Give it a try and see how many questions you can get correct.