As of April this year companies have been allowed to apply for a limited number of casino licences here in Switzerland. These new establishments will not be restricted to the Sfr5 per bet limit, which was previously enforced.This content was published on July 3, 2000 - 09:30
One of these new bigger casinos is to be located in Switzerland's biggest city, Zurich. So far three groups have applied for a licence, one at the existing Zurichhorn Casino, another at the downtown location of the Kongresshaus, but by far the biggest of the applicants is the Grand Casino.
It's planning to build its complex in the redevelopment region of Zurich North. Zurich North is the largest urban renewal project in Switzerland. Its aim is to convert a large former industrial area of the city into a more mixed-use area.
"By locating slightly out of the town centre we can offer more space for parking and a more attractive casino than the other downtown projects," said Franco Rotta, head of the Grand Casino Group, at a press conference in Zurich.
Presenting its plans to the local media the group said that the Zurich North complex will have 35 gaming tables with 500 fruit machines, which is more than any of the other groups bidding for the Zurich licence.
Grand Casino is expecting around 800,000 to 1,000,000 visitors over the first year, with visitors expected to spend around Sfr125 per visit.
The near 20 thousand metre square Zurich North Grand Casino will certainly be an impressive building. Not only would it be the biggest casino project in Switzerland, aimed at a catchment area of 2 and a half million potential customers, it would also be one of the biggest casino projects in Europe.
"Monte Carlo is a bit old fashioned, Las Vegas is too stormy for European customers, so the Grand Casino's style will fall somewhere in between," said Franco Rotta.
With all the bids in it is just a matter of time until the gambling commission decides on who will be the lucky winner for the Zurich licence. But don't expect the sound of whirling roulette wheels too soon, as if the go-ahead comes the Grand Casino wont be opening its doors for at least another two years.
by Tom O'Brien