Stakes rise as pre-tax profits crash at casino operator

Resorts World Birmingham

Birmingham casino operator Genting has blamed a “challenging backdrop” for plummeting pre-tax profits and a decline in revenues.

According to annual results recently released, group revenue for the year to 31 December 2018 was £322.1m, down from £337.7m the year before.

Pre-tax profits dropped to £1.9m from £8.6m – and including exceptional items, this became a loss of £2.2m.

The company blamed this in part to a 12% decline in its high-end division. It said that the UK casino market faced increasing pressure due to a rise in regulatory and political pressure, as well as slow economic growth.

Despite this, the business remained upbeat, saying: “The UK business remained resilient against this challenging backdrop as it continues to benefit from strategic changes implemented in previous years.”

It also praised the performance of the Resorts World Birmingham site, which saw 3.8m visitors during the year, up 7% on 2017. It had invested in multi-million-pound refurbishments of its spa and restaurants.

Online revenues rose nearly 50% year-on-year according to the business, to £17.0m from £8.6m the year before.

Genting itself is a subsidiary of Malaysian casino operator Genting Malaysia Berhad. It said it did not expect to see a material impact on future performance as a result of Brexit.

It operates 40 casinos, 33 in the UK and seven “high end” casinos, including one in Cairo. It also owns Resorts World Birmingham, consisting of the Genting International Casino as well as a hotel, gym and spa and a hotel in Mayfair

In September 2017, Genting put Maxims Casino in London up for sale. It said this was to align its “high end” casino offering with long term objectives. It said it was at an “advanced stage” in the sale process.