Managing Director of Casinos Austria is retiring
There is bad news about Casinos Austria again: The current managing director Bettina Glatz-Kremsner does not want to extend her contract next year. Her professional activity at Casinos Austria will thus end in April 2022. There is no successor yet.
Reasons for Glatz-Kremsner's resignation
At their announcement Mrs. Glatz-Kremsnersdid not give a detailed explanation that she did not want to extend the expiring contract next year. She merely pointed out that she would resign earlier if a suitable successor was found. Thus, the justification does not seem to lie in the company. She confirmed that it was her own free will to step down from the post.
Due to the numerous negative headlines Casinos Austria has been confronted with lately, the reason could lie within the company itself. Glatz-Kremsner was also asked about the Ibiza affair. So it should be clarifiedwhy Peter Sidlo was appointed CFO. Sidlo apparently had private contact with Glatz-Kremsner and later also had a good relationship with Strache. Both were interpreted in such a way that the appointment of Sidlo as CFO would be illegal agreements. However, Sidlo denies that his naming had a political background.
Nevertheless,Sidlo was released after just six months, on December 2, 2019. Sidlo did not want to put up with the dismissal and sued casinos Austria. The hearing took place in February 2021, at which he demanded more than 2 million euroscompensation.
Could staff cuts be the reason for the resignation?
Experts suspect that Glatz-Kremsner will not renew her post due to the criticism regarding the staff cuts. In the summer of 2020, Casinos Austria decided to cut500 jobs. This measure should save 40 million euros. Of course, such high savings cannot only be achieved by cutting jobs. Other employees are affected by their salaries being cut. All this was decided in order not to have to close the company. In this way, 1200 jobs can be preserved.
Within these measures, however, it was not just about reducing personnel costs. Negotiations have also been made to decouple the casino business from other lines of business. Although a kind of general overhaul of the company was proposed,the works councils criticized the downsizing and cuts in salaries. Instead, they suggested sending older employees into semi-retirement.
Glatz-Kremsner was also criticized for the business figures she presented. The job cuts were justified, among other things, by the losses that Casinos Austria experienced primarily as a result of the Corona crisis. It was estimated that theloss would amount to 65 million euros by 2021.
Proposed amendments to the Gambling Act may be to blame
Other experts speculate that the proposed amendments to the Gambling Act may play a role. It has already been published that Casinos Austria mayhave to dismantle all slot machines. If this is really the case, the ailing financial situation would worsen further.
In addition, it is not yet foreseeable when the corona pandemic and the associated lockdowns will end. TheMost of last year's loss is related to the Corona pandemic. This statement does not only refer to the main company. Other areas, such as the subsidiary Casinos Austria International, also had to accept significant losses in sales. If this company is awarded the contract for the new casino resort in Nagasaki, their balance sheet could at least improve.
However, there are other reasons why experts suspect that Glatz-Kremsner will not renew her contract. After all, she was activefor years as a politician and now Austria's own independent gaming authority is being set up. This is intended to completely decouple politics from gambling and prevent similar incidents such as the Ibiza affair.
Casinos Austria owners are satisfied with management
External reasons do not seem to exist. At least the main owner of Casinos Austria is positive about the management. Themain owner is the Czech company Sazka, which owns a 53 percent stake. Another 33 percent are in the hands of the Austrian holding company ÖBAG, which is also satisfied with Glatz-Kremsner's work. It can thus be ruled out that internal reasons influenced the decision.
As Ms. Glatz-Kremsner herself admitted, she is not satisfied with the actions of the Austrian government. She cannot understand why Casinos Austria of all things has to dismantle the slot machines and close some branches.All video lottery terminals will also be banned. Casinos Austria owns almost 900 of these terminals, which have a total value of 45 million euros.
Perhaps thereasons lie in the uncertain future: Reduction of the slot machines, no improvement in the corona pandemic and further planned restrictions in the gambling law. Ideas to reduce the loss somewhat were not accepted by the works councils. Seen in this way, it is hardly surprising if the management does not extend their contract. The true reasons may be revealed when there is a successor.