Gibraltar : Interview with Mr. Adrian Stevenson and Mr. Tim Mitchell

Mr. Adrian Stevenson and Mr. Tim Mitchell

Managing Director and Operations Manager, Gala Casino – Gibraltar International Casino (Gala Casino )

Mr. Adrian Stevenson and Mr. Tim Mitchell
Could you give us some background information on Gibraltar International Casino’s parent company Gala Casino and the relationship between the two of companies?

Gala Casino is owned by a group called Gala Group Limited and they are the biggest bingo operator in the UK operating over 168 bingo clubs as well as 30 casinos (28 on the UK mainland, one on Isle of Man and one here in Gibraltar). Within our operations here in Gibraltar, we have not only bingo, but also slot machines and tables for various games such as roulette, blackjack and poker.In addition, we have a nice function and bar area that hosts live entertainment on the weekends.We like to consider ourselves more of an entertainment complex than a gaming center because that is essentially how we promote and market ourselves.

Typically our casino generates around ¾ of a million pounds in profits, which represents about 3% of the Group’s total profits.Therefore in that sense, we are quite a small piece of the pie.What make our casino unique are the laws that govern the gaming industry here in Gibraltar.They are much less strict than in many other places in which Gala has casinos because there is no regulatory body here.Instead, we deal directly with the government and follow any ordinances that it passes.

Does Gala Casino allow you to make your own operating decisions?

Yes, Gala Casino knows that we know our own local market because the gamers here are very different from the gamers in the UK.For example, in the UK, laws prohibit the advertising of gaming, but here it is ok, so besides the local market, we can look at the Spanish market as well.

What kind of market does the cruise line industry and international travelers offer?

I looked into the cruise line industry several years ago and spoke with several cruise line operators, and at the end of the day it just was not a very viable market for us.Generally speaking, the cruise ships port in the morning and they are gone by late afternoon.They also usually have there own casinos on board, so when they are here in Gibraltar they tend to just spend their time doing their duty-free shopping and seeing the various attractions.The same is true for those making day trips from the Costa del Sol in Spain; generally they do not come here to gamble.

The only international travelers that we market to are Britons, which we do through our parent company.Several times a year they we organize a weekend trip for some of their gamers and we will set them up in hotels here knowing that they will spend some time in our casino.

How do you see the gaming industry and the regulations governing the industry evolving into the future?

The question of regulating the gaming industry has been a hot subject in the press recently, so the government is definitely looking at this matter.Tim Bristow, the Treasury Secretary takes charge of all the online gaming and the brick and mortar casinos, of which we are the only one.He has recently suggested that towards the end of June that he wanted to introduce new gaming laws, particularly aimed at the online segment of the market, because that segment has grown to such and extent that new laws are required.Some of these new laws will likely revolve around how to ensure that the online gamers are of the legal age, and those types of issues.As far as the brick and mortar establishments like ours, I do not see these new laws affecting our business very much.

What makes Gibraltar such a beneficial place to set up an online or on site casino?

The laws to set up an online casino are much more relaxed than anywhere else.The only thing Tim Bristow wanted was that management consisted of locals.The other issue is the tax and royalties that a company has to paid are much lower than other places.

What areas of your operations to you see expanding in the future?

We are planning on expanding the bingo hall because we have noticed an increase in the number of players, which also feeds into the slot machine room, so that will likely be expanded in the future as well.We are waiting for our parent company the Gala Group to provide us some funds to refurbish a few areas of the casino, but specifically in the bingo hall.

What would be your final message to our readers?

If you are in Gibraltar for an evening and would like a nice evening of entertainment, come over and check us out.Our goal is to make sure that each and every person that walks in our doors leaves having been entertained in some way.Entertainment is our bottom line.