The Fate of Lebanon’s Casino du Liban
For a very long time, Casino du Liban stood as the premier gaming destination for the wealthy not just in Lebanon but from other parts of the Middle East as well. Founded way back in the 50s, the gambling and entertainment destination grew so big thanks to its pact with the government. So luxurious was it that it was often described as the Middle East’s Monte Carlo.
As much as Casino du Liban has enjoyed a lot of success in the region, it has not been so lucky over the past several months. It suffered huge losses in late 2019 following wide anti-government protests and road closures. According to the property’s chairman, the losses were as much as $12 million.
As if that is not enough, 2020 rolled around and the coronavirus pandemic has continued to wreak havoc on the global economy. Unsurprisingly, Casino du Liban was not spared. Following a decision by the country’s Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Nightclubs, and Amusements, the casino and several related businesses were forced to temporarily close down as part of the measures to contain the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With this came even more losses for the gaming operator.
The Push for Online Gambling
One of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns that followed was the rise in online gambling activities all around the world. Gaming companies that were already offering online gambling services were thus able to bring in some revenue despite the downturn that the rest of the gaming sector experienced.
Lots of retail gaming operators took note of this and several of them either fast-tracked their plans to offer online services or launched their bids to venture into the sector. Again, as expected Casino du Liban jumped onto the bandwagon, and about a few months into the pandemic, it began to look for a gambling technology partner.
The move, while unexpected, was quite timely and it represented an opportunity for growth for both the operator and its yet-to-be-announced partner. Its management categorically stated that they would prefer to get a mid-tier company that won’t cost too much and aren’t run by Israelis. This was a rather interesting preference but, all the same, it meant that the company, after several failed attempts, was ready to be serious about online gambling.
While the idea of online slots for real money can be very exciting and new online casinos like Super Slots coming out seemingly every day, things may have just a lot more complicated as now Casino du Liban could be facing even more trouble, seemingly.
For quite some time now, Lebanon has been in a bit of a fix – the country is facing a fiscal, banking and debt crisis that is so bad that the country is negotiating a rescue package with the IMF. While there is currently a major focus on the management of the country’s debt as it struggles to get back to normalcy, a few suggestions have been thrown around with regards to using Lebanon’s public assets. One of these assets is the Casino du Liban.
Lebanon needs to raise money fast and the existing efforts are set to take quite a bit of time, to say the least. The casino’s plans for online gambling could, of course, help in introducing a new revenue stream for the country but the success of that vertical may be dependent on several other factors. Additionally, the period that would be required to kick online gambling off would be rather stretched if all protocols are to be followed.
Now, while there are no official remarks about the possibility of raising funds by letting go of Casino du Liban and other public assets, it is increasingly becoming a source of debate. Should they or should they not?