Holland Casino’s latest annual figures revealed substantial growth. What does this mean for the company’s future privatization?

On Wednesday, Holland Casino released its annual report, revealing revenues of €639.2m, a 5.2% increase compared to the previous year. Earnings before taxes increased 20.0% to €98m, mainly on account of a €19.9m insurance payment as a result of the fire that completely destroyed the Holland Casino branch in the city of Groningen. EBITDA, naturally, was even higher at €140.8m.

Although two of Holland Casino’s local branches were closed for significant parts of the year (one destroyed by fire; the other to make way for a second branch in Amsterdam, which is scheduled to open later this year), the total number of visits to Holland Casino in 2017 only decreased a very modest 1.5%, while the average spend per visit increased 6.9% to €109.

Without exception, revenues and earnings – as well as investments and equity – have been trending upward since the company reported a €22.3m net loss in 2013.

How much is Holland Casino worth?

Earlier estimates of Holland Casino’s worth indicated that prospective buyers of the company, which has been slated for privatization, should expect to pay up to €1 billion – or possibly even more.

Assuming an EBITDA multiplier of 10 and discounting 2017’s one-time insurance payment, Holland Casino may very well net its current owner, the Dutch state, a respectable €1.2bn.

When will Holland Casino be privatized?

Late last year, State Secretary Menno Snel of Finance informed the Dutch Lower House that he expected to complete Holland Casino’s privatization sometime during 2020. However, legislative progress on the Casino Reform Bill, which should pave the way for the privatization of the state-owned casino operator, has stalled in the Senate. “A lot still needs to happen to achieve privatization in 2020,” Holland Casino CEO Erwin van Lambaart recently said.

A further complication is that the Netherlands Gaming Authority has requested the Ministry of Justice and Security to ensure that the Remote Gaming Bill and Casino Reform Bill will not enter into force at the same time, as the Dutch regulator believes it has insufficient capacity to simultaneously consider license applications by remote and land-based operators.

The opening of the land-based market may thus take a backseat to the opening of its online counterpart.

Van Lambaart, however, is not discouraged. “We won’t wait for privatization. We own fourteen branches and we want them all to be healthy and up to date, regardless of whether this benefits our current shareholder or a new owner.”