Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries post best results in group’s 50-year corporate history

Record revenues of 3.89 billion euros; operating result up by 49 percent to 150 million euros; taxes and duties over 600 million euros for the first time.

Management and staff at the Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries Group can look back on the best financial year in their 50-year corporate history. In 2016, the group posted increases in revenues in all its business units. This led to an eight percent rise in group revenues to a record 3,885.95 million euros. Sustained investments in improving and extending its portfolio as well as measures to improve efficiency also led to the group achieving clear increases in results: operating results rose by 49 percent to 150.1 million euros, while group consolidated results were up by 65 percent to 91.2 million euros.

There was also cause for celebration among customers and guests, who together took home total winnings of 2.7 billion euros, a rise of 11.3 percent compared to 2015 and yet another historic high. The biggest winner of the year was once again not determined by chance: it was the treasury. For the first time in its history, the group paid over 600 million euros (609.25 million euros to be exact) in taxes, duties and social security contributions.

More visitors, more revenues, more profits in the domestic casinos
An international caliber gaming mix, award-winning F&B and more than 1,900 functions and events – this unique all-round portfolio was a clear hit with guests. Visitor numbers at Casinos Austria’s twelve domestic casinos were up by 10.6 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year: together, these casinos welcomed a total of 3,009,946 guests, more than half of whom were international visitors. This led in turn to a strong rise in gaming revenues, which were up 5.2 percent year-on-year to 326.83 million euros. 2016 was thus one of the most successful business years in Casinos Austria’s 50-year history.

Casinos Austria’s gastronomy subsidiary also celebrated growth: eight Gault&Millau toques make Cuisino the most-decorated gastronomy firm in Austria, and with 17.07 million euros in sales, business was also clearly booming – up by 12.67 percent compared to 2015.

Casinos Austria invested some 38 million euros in 2016 in the development and equipping of its casinos in Austria. More than 1,000 new slot machines from eleven different manufacturers with a total value of 16 million euros were installed and have been in operation since 1 January 2017. Phase two of the renovations at Casino Graz were completed in 2016 with the relocation and redesign of the restaurant. In Casino Velden, the “Die Yacht” Cuisino Restaurant was opened after a record renovation period of just one month. The extensive extension and conversion measures at Casino Salzburg were likewise completed: the new Casino Lounge created in the course of the renovations opened for business, the restaurant area was extended, and the roof was completely restored. In July 2016, a further construction project was finalized at Casino Bregenz, namely the summer terrace at the “Falstaff” Cuisino Restaurant with its new, illuminated Cloud Bar. Last but not least, the main gaming room on the ground floor at Casino Kitzbühel was also modernized.

Another high-level plus for Austrian Lotteries
The 2016 anniversary year brought a new record for gaming revenues at Austrian Lotteries: at 3.352 billion euros – 8.7 percent more than in the previous year – gaming revenues hit an all-time high in the company’s 30th anniversary year. Earnings before taxes at 77.8 million euros and a profit for the year of 67.7 million euros mark two further record results.
With the continued development of the electronic lotteries on win2day.at, the online gaming site clearly hit a sweet spot with its customers. Product launches in the Casino Games section and the continued expansion of the mobile services led to a 17.8 percent increase in gaming revenues to an all-time high of 1.539 billion euros.

Significant improvements in results were also achieved at the video lottery terminals (VLT) subsidiary. The new WINWIN outlets in Linz Urfahr, Schwaz, Wiener Neustadt and Wels/Stadtplatz opened in 2015 and 2016 contributed to a growth in VLT gaming revenues for the reporting year of around 10.8 percent to 499.5 million euros.

Classic lottery product sales were down slightly compared to the previous year by 1.5 percent to 1.31 billion euros. Sales of the EuroMillions product were up by 2.6 percent thanks to an extensive relaunch, higher starting jackpot and new formula, the Joker product recorded a 1.9 percent growth in sales, while the Brieflos break-open tickets posted a positive rise in sales of 3.8 percent. The Lotto “6 aus 45” national lottery remained the flagship product, generating gaming revenues of 595.8 million euros, a 3.2 percent drop year-on-year.

The 2016 winners balance sheet at Austrian Lotteries was likewise impressive: 253 players each succeeded in winning 100,000 euros or more. This corresponds on average to almost five big wins each week. 46 of these lucky winners players each won in excess of 1 million euros.

Casinos Austria International with an operating profit of 34.8 million euros
Casinos Austria International (CAI) succeeded in more than quadrupling its operating earnings from 8.01 million euros in 2015 to 34.79 million euros in 2016. This can be attributed to a significant improvement in results at several operations, most notably the casinos in Sopron (Hungary), Lower Saxony (Germany) and Canada. With revenues of 126.37 million euros, consolidated results for the CAI Group were also back in the black for the first time since 2009 at 9.1 million euros. Even when adjusted for one-time extraordinary balance sheet effects to the amount of 8.1 million euros for taking a partner on board for Casino Sopron, this still leaves a healthy plus of 1 million euros.

Since its operative turnaround two years ago, Casinos Austria International has also begun taking on new projects in the form of management contracts and so-called token investments. These include the opening of a casino in Batumi, Georgia, and the entry into the Macedonian market. Since its founding in 2014, the National Videolottery of the Republic of Macedonia has successfully rolled out 80 percent (1,038 terminals) of the planned 1,300 video lottery terminals.

Social responsibility as overriding principle
The cornerstone of all business activities in the Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries Group is and remains responsibility to society, above all the protection of guests and customers. Events like the group’s Responsible Gaming Academy, which was held for the 13th time in 2016, recurring certification processes and external audits, and regular staff training contribute to maintaining the group’s position as an international pioneer in the responsible gaming field.

The group also supports numerous projects, events and initiatives in the social and humanitarian, in science and research, arts and culture, tourism, and sports sectors. Without this support, many of these would hardly be able to continue. All these endeavors follow the principle of sustainability as a matter of course. Many of these partnerships have been in place for well over 30 years, and the partnership with the Wiener Festwochen arts festival is entering its 50th season in 2017.

2007 to 2016: 300 million decrease in borrowings, 100 million increase in earnings
It is a time of big anniversaries in the Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries Group. In September 2016, Austrian Lotteries – and with it the Lotto “6 aus 45” national lottery – celebrated their 30th anniversaries. Around the same time, Casinos Austria International Holding marked its 25th year of business, and 40 years had passed since the group first branched out onto the international gaming stage. Casinos Austria AG is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, and there was another “round” anniversary right at the start of the year: on 1 January 2007, Director General Karl Stoss was appointed to the Boards at Casinos Austria AG and Austrian Lotteries; on 8 May 2007, almost ten years ago to the day, he assumed the position of Director General.

Barely in office, he faced a number of major challenges, first and foremost the acquisition of BAWAG P.S.K.’s 34 percent stake in Austrian Lotteries. By purchasing this stake for over 300 million euros, Casinos Austria – at the time already a 34-percent shareholder itself – became the majority owner of Austrian Lotteries. This secured control of the company, but also raised borrowings to almost 700 million euros. Today, ten years later, the company has succeeded in bringing its borrowed capital back down to – and even slightly below – its previous level. In other words, it has reduced its borrowed capital by over 300 million euros.

At the same time, the performance of the entire group has been improved. Annual operating earnings have tripled over this ten-year period: from 49.6 million euros in the 2007 business year to 150.1 million euros in the 2016 balance sheet. This has been achieved both through significant increases in earnings in all business units as well as through reductions in costs, for instance by amalgamating the headquarters of Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries at the Rennweg 44 site in Vienna and closing the former headquarters in Palais Ephrussi at the city’s Schottentor. Hundreds of millions of euros invested in the twelve domestic casinos, the expansion and positioning of the restaurants and bars under the Cuisino brand, recognized latterly with eight Gault&Millau toques, a major revision of the Casinos Austria International investment portfolio, the constant improvement of the Austrian Lotteries product portfolio, the continued expansion in the rapidly growing online sector (win2day) – all of this has put the Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries Group in a better position than ever before. “We really did our homework thoroughly, have a great team of highly dedicated employees with extensive know-how and a clear focus on customer and service excellence, and have built a remarkable group of companies of which the former and the new owners, above all the ÖBIB Austrian state holding company, can be really proud,” said Director General Karl Stoss. The state has since not only enjoyed continuous dividends, it has also received over 5.5 billion euros in tax contributions from the group over the last ten years.

Links to the Annual Reports for Casinos Austria AG and Österreichische Lotterien GmbH can be found below. The Annual Financial Statement for Casinos Austria International Holding will be available for download from 25 April 2017 (12 noon) on the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank website.

Annual Report Casinos Austria AG

Annual Report Österreichische Lotterien GmbH

Vienna, 25 April 2016

Contact for further information:
Martin Himmelbauer
Head of Corporate Communications
Casinos Austria – Österreichische Lotterien
Phone: +43/1/53440-31900
E-mail: martin.himmelbauer@casinos.at