New Swiss online gambling site launched

by William Brown Last Updated
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Another land-based Swiss casino has launched an online gambling website.

iGamingbusiness reports that Grand Casino Bern, a business of Casinos Australia International, has launched 7melons.ch, a website that is now live and offers a range of online casino games to Swiss players.

The site will operate under Grand Casino Bern’s online gambling licence, which was secured in November last year and permits the operator to run online casino games alongside its existing land-based offering.

Another Casinos Australia International property, Casino Interlaken, launched igaming under the StarVegas.ch domain in February this year.

Grand Casino Bern’s land-based facility opened in April 2002, but is currently operating on a limited hours and capacity basis due to COVID-19 restrictions in the country.

In July, the Swiss gambling regulator said online gaming licensees in the country were able to generate US$25.9 million in revenue during 2019.

Legal igaming launched in Switzerland in July 2019, with all revenue generated in the market coming during the latter part of the year.

In terms of land-based activity, total revenue from Switzerland’s 21 casinos amounted to US$818 million.

Casinos Australia International, Casinos Australia’s subsidiary that operates venues in other countries, earlier this month posted a loss for the first half of 2020, as revenue fell by more than 20 per cent.

Nagasaki pauses its integrated resort plans 

A Japanese prefecture has halted its request for a proposal process to host a casino resort.

 GGR Asia reports that Nagasaki’s proposal has been postponed indefinitely.

The prefectural government noted it would decide later, an “appropriate time” for launching the RFP process, but said preparation work for launching the RFP process, but said preparation work would still go on for an integrated resort.

A Monday announcement mentioned the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions as reasons for halting the process.

There was no mention of the resignation on Friday as prime minister of Shinzo Abe, whose government had steered the casino liberalisation policy.

Nagasaki is the latest in a number of local authority suitors for a casino complex, or integrated resort as they are known in Japan, to announce a pause on their casino ambitions. 

Yokohama and Osaka did so even before Mr Abe stepped down. 

Nagasaki had previously indicated the RFP process could be launched before the Japanese summer ended, but it now says casino resort operators, the sort of entities that could eventually become a private-sector partner for the prefecture – had suggested the postponement.

Such operators reportedly cited the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and travel restrictions that limit their opportunities for on-site visits in Japan. 

Land at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City has been earmarked by Nagasaki as the site of an integrated resort project. 

Three companies had previously confirmed to GGR Asia their respective intention to participate in Nagasaki’s RFP process.

They were: Japan’s Current Corp; a Japan unit of Casinos Austria International Holding GmbH; and Hong Kong-listed Oshidori International Holdings.

Osaka prefecture and city, confirmed last week a pause for its casino RFP. 

Subsequently on Friday, the mayor of Osaka and the governor of Osaka prefecture respectively suggested that provided Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party stays at the centre of national government, then the resignation of Shinzo Abe last Friday as the country’s prime minister, should not derail Japan’s introduction of casinos.

Banking group Nomura said in a Friday memo, offering commentary on Mr Abe’s departure, that were Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary under Mr Abe – and touted in some quarters as a successor – to take over the top job, the casino policy would in likelihood remain in place.

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