France’s 193 casinos have enjoyed their best year ever. Profits in the 2005-2006 season totalled 2.7 billion euros after payouts to gamblers. That was a record and up by 2.16%. The previous year had seen the weakest growth since 1991. But the latest profit is tame compared with the period between 1991 and 2001 when profits rose each year by at least 10%.
Meanwhile, France’s 17,000 casino workers remain unhappy and believe that more of those profits should be coming to them. After wage negotiations broke down,they went on strike on New Year’s Eve – one of the casinos’ busiest nights. Their unions want a 5% pay rise. The casino operators are offering 2%.
The unions are also concerned about proposed changes in French law that will authorise electronic versions of games such as blackjack and which they fear could mean job losses.