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Gaming Chain Eyeing New Investment

Nova Gorica, 20 August (STA) - Slovenia's biggest gaming chain is mulling opening a new gaming centre on the border with Italy. The idea was discussed at a meeting of the supervisory board of HIT on Monday, which also examined financial restructuring plans.

The state-owned casino operator wants to launch the new entertainment centre in an existing facility in Šempeter. Given that the company already owns the land and premises, the project would only cost EUR 6.4m, CEO Dimitrij Piciga told the press.

He said that the investment would represent an important step in the development of the company which should attract new visitors to the area around Nova Gorica.

The centre could be up and running by as early as mid-2015, but would first require approval from the Šempeter-Vrtojba municipal council, which only yesterday rejected a bid from rival gaming firm Alea Iacta for a license to build a gaming centre in Vrtojba.

The Alea Iacta plan is promoted by Priori, a company owned by Sergej Racman, who owns several gaming and cinema centres in Slovenia and the Western Balkans.

Piciga was present at the same session of the Šempeter-Vrtojba municipal council on Monday to answer questions about HIT's project.

Meanwhile, HIT's supervisors also debates plans for financial restructuring of the company that has been hit hard by a drop in the number of visitors from Italy.

Piciga said talks were underway with banks for a reprogramming of loans, while business restructuring would need to focus on overhauling the sales and marketing network at the company.

"We must work to attract guests from more distant locations and not be so reliant on the Italian market," said Piciga.

He admitted that HIT faced the prospect of finish the year with a loss as the drop in Italian guests had been coupled with a drop in spending by visitors this year.

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