Two Canadian casinos claimed to have MORE THAN DOUBLED their profits — despite reduced turnover — by making themselves SMALLER.
The Halifax and Sydney casinos in Nova Scotia raked in £1.52 million in the three months to June 30, up from almost £740,000 in the same period last year. But total revenue dropped from £5.8 million last year to £5.7 million this.
Howard Blank, spokesman for Richmond, B.C.-based owners Great Canadian Gaming Corp., said reducing staff by 15 per cent was certainly a factor but added: “It wasn’t the layoffs; it was the actual size of the floor being reduced in size.
“We’ve carried out a number of initiatives to make the casinos more guest-friendly and more right-sized to the market place.”
Blank said both casinos took away slot machines and put up walls to make the gaming area smaller. He also listed better promotions, live entertainment and major name artists as reasons for increased earnings.
But critics say staff cuts are the more likely explanation. Liberal gaming opponent Leo Glavine told the Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald: “Any time you reduce staff by nearly 100, you’ve let go obligations, whether it’s vacation time or health benefits.”
Glavine said Great Canadian would have to explain to the government how it doubled profits while taking in less cash.
“There seems to be some evidence that perhaps the employees — those who have been let go and those that currently work — may not have gained very much in benefits from this substantial increase.”
Yesterday, casino bosses were tight-lipped over whether the new profit figures meant the Nova Scotia venues were on stable footing.
“We’re optimistic. However, this is only one quarter,” Blank added. “We’re pleased with the initial turnaround and hope it will be able to continue.”