The Principality of Liechtenstein is on track to have its first casino since the law banning such activity in 1949. The government has received two proposals to operate the casino. The competing bids involve familiar names in the region: Casinos Austria and Novomatic.
Local publication Vaterland reports that the proposal involving Novomatic calls for an Admiral Casino and a small hotel of 14 rooms. Amenities would include a restaurant and a spa and fitness center, altogether carrying a price tag of CHF40 million—about $43.5 million.
The Casinos Austria plan—which in fact is a project from local entrepreneur Wolfgang Egger, and in which Casinos Austria would be involved in operating the casino only—features a 100-plus-room hotel, two restaurants and a fitness center. Planned investment is CHF65 million.
The casino license will be valid for six years initially. Gaming tax will be lower than in the Swiss casinos, starting at 12.5 percent and running as high as 40 percent. In Switzerland proper, casinos paid an average of 51.16 percent in 2009.
Citing economic reasons, last year the government decided to lift a ban on casinos that had stood since 1949. Liechtenstein’s 35,000 people are within 30 minutes driving of a half-dozen casinos in Switzerland and Austria.
The tiny nation has a strong financial services sector and its per-capita GDP is about the highest in the world.
A decision on the awarding of the license is possible sometime in June, before the summer recess. If that occurs, the first casino in Liechtenstein could be open by summer 2013.