Czech group Sazka Group to become the main shareholder of Casinos Austria AG

in Finance

The "green light" at the government and supervisory level is taken by the Czech group Sazka Group to become the main shareholder of Casinos Austria AG, one of the largest European gaming companies with casino business, lottery and online betting platforms .

As early as 2015, the Czech Sazka group had reached an agreement with Casinos Austria's shareholders to acquire their share, having gained a direct stake of 11% since the beginning of the year. However, the required authorizations of the relevant governmental and supervisory authorities, including Austria, and Switzerland, have been pending for a long time, to increase its involvement. These approvals have now been granted and "OK" pending at Casinos Austria's shareholders' general meeting on 15 January 2018, which will make the Czech group (through the subsidiary Austrian Came Holding GmbH) a major shareholder of Casinos Austria, 34.04%.

Sellers are Leipnik-Lundenburger Invest Beteiligungs AG, better known as LLI, belonging to the Raiffeisen Group and the UNIQA Insurance Group. The Austrian state holding company ÖBIB continues to maintain 33.24%, while Novomatic, a provider of technological systems for the gambling industry, holds 17.2%. The remaining percentages belong to minority shareholders.

It is noted that Casinos Austria, which controls the Österreichische Lotterien (Austrian Lotteries), operates 12 casinos in Austria and another 27 in other countries, including Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, and a large VLTs network in FYROM , as well as a 32.5% stake in LOTTOITALIA. A year ago, her subsidiary was a member of Club Hotel Casino Loutraki.

With this move, the Czech group is significantly expanding its footprint on the European gambling market, having already entered the Greek market through OPAP since 2013. Sazka Group's key shareholders include KKCG (75%), controlled by Karel Komarek and Emma Capital (25%), controlled by Jiri Smejc.

Sazka Group is the largest investor in EMMA Delta, the 33% investment fund of OPAP. According to Emma Capital's announcement last June that Helixor, a partner of J & T Private Equity Group, was announced, Sazka Group holds 71.9% of the fund's shares, while the remaining 28.1% is controlled by the Greeks partners and the Italian IGT Group participating in the scheme.

Gaming market executives pointed to strengthening the role of Sazka Group in Casinos Austria AG, which is part of the industry's strengths in Europe. They also expressed the appreciation that the Czech group's planning includes a further increase in its participation of more than 50% but that its strategic orientation involves expanding its activities to new markets where entry opportunities are created.

The Greek market complies with these requirements, given that a draft law will be put to vote in the beginning of January with which the casino market will be reorganized in the country, and the international competition for casino licensing Greek. Their interest in the Greek casino market has already been expressed by clubs such as Las Vegas Sands and Ceasar's Entertainment, among others, who have made contacts at institutional and business level, and mobility is sure to come from domestic investment schemes, once the new market framework has been finalized.