Nova Gorica, 23 August (STA) - Slovenia's biggest casino operator Hit recorded revenues to the tune of EUR 96.1m and a pre-tax profit of EUR 2.2m in the first seven months of 2011, despite the anticipated loss of EUR 500,000.
The company paid EUR 25m of gaming taxes in the mentioned period and lowered its liabilities to the banks by EUR 7m to EUR 101m, Hit CEO Drago Podobnik told the press in Nova Gorica on Tuesday.
The number of visitors to Hit slot parlours and casinos increased by 1% to 757,000, while the number of overnight stays in its hotels grew by almost 16% to 82,000 in comparison with the same period last year.
Podobnik said that they were working hard to attract guests from foreign markets in the light of the decrease of visitors from Italy, where the competition in the form of almost 30,000 slot machines was becoming increasingly strong.
"The moves related to higher taxes, lower pensions and other saving measures will also have a direct impact on the solvency of our guests," said Podobnik.
He said that they succeeded in attracting some wealthy guests from Russia and Ukraine to the casinos in Nova Gorica and Kranjska Gora, and that they were hoping to attract visitors from the Scandinavian countries and China.
Hit affiliates in Slovenia and abroad also improved their business results, but their recuperation has been slower than that of the parent company.
Despite the layoffs in 2010, Hit still employs 1440 workers with the average net salary of almost EUR 2,200 gross. The management continues the negotiations with the trade unions on the new collective agreement, which is to be signed by the end of the year, stated Podobnik.
Hit future plans include the construction of a new large gaming centre. Podobnik said that the project would be presented to the supervisory board in November, but added that the final decision on the location of the centre had not yet been made.
One of the possible locations is at the Vrtojba border crossing with Italy, which is why Hit is very much interested in the fate of the gaming centre planned in the same area by the entertaining company Alea Iacta.
Only yesterday, the Nova Gorica City Council voted against awarding Alea Iacta a gaming licence. The opinion is however not binding on the Gaming Commission, which issues licences.