|French casino operator Groupe Partouche has revealed that its net profits halved last year, with the introduction of a smoking ban is making 2008’s outlook uncertain.|
The Paris-based firm stated that net profits fell to $22.51 million from $45.19 million a year earlier on sales that were down one percent to $1.34 billion. It attributed the drop in sales to new security checks keeping customers away from its French venues.
The company reported recurring operating profits fell 3.2 percent to $119.32 million as its foreign casinos and hotel operations helped offset weak demand in its domestic gambling business.
The Groupe stated that the French initiation of a smoking ban on January 1 was already affecting business but that it would look to use any changes in local gaming laws to mitigate the impact, including possible forays into online gambling.