Cypriots stake €137 mln on slot machines

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Post-pandemic Cypriots have gained an appetite for gambling, as they have spent over €137 mln on slot machines at Cyprus Casinos in just six weeks, according to Q2 data released by operators Melco.

Melco’s Q2 financial results show that casino visitors risked €137.1 mln on slot machines from April to June, a 181.5% increase compared to the €48.7 mln gambled in Q2 2020.

The gaming machine win rate in Q2 was 4.9% compared to 5.2% for the same period last year.

Due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, Cyprus Casinos were closed from the beginning of the year until 16 May.

Casinos reopened on 17 May with Cypriots rushing to try their luck, as data shows.

In 2020, casinos shut down from mid-March to early June due to the first national lockdown imposed.

Melco’s financial results include the amount of money players spent on games.

Specifically, in Q2 2021, the total amount that VIP players have bet on table games (rolling chip volume) was €1.28 mln, while the pay-out percentage (rolling chip win rate) was negative by 4.40%.

Additionally, non-VIP players wagered €12.27 mln, compared to €3.49 mln in Q2 2020.

The profit from the betting activity (mass market table games hold percentage) amounted to 15.6% in Q2 2021, compared to 11.1% in the second quarter of 2020.

Total operating revenues at Cyprus Casinos for the quarter ending on 20 June was €8.52 mln, compared to €2.98 mln in Q2 2020.

Moreover, Cyprus Casinos generated a negative adjusted EBITDA of €682,000 in Q2 2021, from €5.11 mln in 2020.

Cyprus Casinos “C2” opened its doors three years ago, becoming the Republic’s first authorized casino in Limassol on 28 June 2018.

Currently, Cyprus Casinos operates satellites in Nicosia, Ayia Napa, Paphos, Larnaca airport and a temporary one in Limassol, pending the opening of the City of Dreams Mediterranean resort next year.

The City of Dreams will become the largest integrated resort and the only one of its kind in Europe, estimated to create around 4,000 local job opportunities during its construction phase and approximately 2,500 permanent jobs once it opens in summer 2022.

Cyprus Casinos said the pace of recovery from COVID-19 related disruptions depends on various future events, such as “widespread acceptance of safe and effective vaccines”, “customer sentiment and behaviour”, and travel restrictions.

Lawrence Ho, Melco’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are pleased to see a progressive recovery in business levels during the second quarter of 2021 in our integrated resorts, despite the challenges that we have faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions.

“Mass and premium mass-market players have proven to be the primary drivers of the recovery this quarter and are expected to be going forward as we continue to dedicate our resources toward these segments of the market.

“City of Dreams Mediterranean continues, with a target opening in summer 2022.

“The project, upon completion, will be Europe’s largest integrated resort with approximately 500 luxury hotel rooms, approximately 10,000 square meters of MICE space, an outdoor amphitheatre, a family adventure park, and a variety of fine-dining outlets and luxury retail. ”