From Oktoberfest at the Hofbrauhaus to the BMW Museum and Exhibition, Munich seems to have it all when it comes attracting tourism. What could possibly be missing?
Interestingly enough, while Germany is completely open to and welcomes land-based and online casinos, Munich has very few gambling and casino gaming options to offer. While electronic slots and other computerized games of chance give people an exciting risk-taking opportunity at local bars, the three local "casinos" the city boasts are hardly worth the time to visit. Following in the footsteps of many other European cities, adding casino resorts and the attractions that come with them could really add Munich to the tourist map of Europe.
With the Old Continent coming out of the recession on the heels of the U.S., people are ready to spend money again and tourism is starting to boom. Several sources, including Bloomberg and Reuters, state firmly that Germany has Europe's largest economy and the fourth largest in the world. We have never been in a better position to invest in the tourist trade and what better choice than the casino industry? After all, Germans are the second biggest spenders in terms of outbound tourism in the world, spending around EUR80 billion annually to travel abroad, according to tourism-review.com.
Old World Charms
While most look to Las Vegas or Macau as leaders in the gaming industry, European casinos bring history and culture along with their variety of games. In fact, the roots of most of today's casino games can be traced to European origins. A form of the popular card game blackjack was recorded in Spain as early as 1440 and the rules of the game we know today were established in France mid-18th Century. Modern day craps came to the U.S. through France and Baccarat developed in Italy. European casinos can boast historic beginnings, refinement and elegance along with being the place where many casino games were invented or perfected.
Roulette was made popular thanks to the efforts of French brothers Louis and Francois Blanc. When they took their game to Germany, they were hugely successful casino operators in Bad Homburg before being lured to Monaco to establish Monte Carlo as the European casino capital we know today. Munich could rival this success.
Munich already boasts almost 70 million tourists passing through each year. They come for the museums and churches, winter sports and activities and the beer festivals. Oktoberfest alone brings over 6 million in brew aficionados. Unfortunately, that 70 million only translates to about 13.4 million overnight guests. That's the issue that we could address to provide Munich with more job opportunities and more revenue.
Baden Baden, another well-known and much smaller German town might only lay claim to about 1 million overnight guests, but their overnight stay to day-tourist ratio is far better with about 80% of the incoming tourists staying for one or more nights. What is the difference? Baden Baden is home to one of the most luxurious casino and spa resorts in Europe.
Munich is unique in its blend of history and modernization. One of the few cities to renovate its historical heritage completely after World War II, it also boasts a tremendously modern section that headquarters companies such as BMW, Siemens and Allianz. The blend of past and future is reminiscent of Macau, whose interest in the casino industry has given the city an income of over $45 billion and less than 2% unemployment.
Total Knock Out
Casino resorts aren't just about gambling. Las Vegas casinos frequently host boxing and MMA matches such as the Merriweather/Pacquiao match, which brought in almost 20,000 people a night in live attendance and generated over $450 million in ticket sales and broadcast pay-per-views. Macau began offering boxing just a few years ago and their revenue potentials have surpassed those of Las Vegas. Monte Carlo can't even come close and there is not another casino in Europe that offers similar live sporting events.
The niche is wide open for the taking and a city like Munich can handle the sudden influx of tourists should we become the first to offer live sporting competitions as part of the casino industry. Having hosted the 1972 Olympics and having the German soccer team do well in the World Cup for several years, Munich is no stranger to sports fans. There are even plenty of German boxers in the ring today, but where are they fighting? Las Vegas or Macau.
Old World - Not Small World
Most of the casinos in the European community were built specifically for gambling and are far more intimate than those built by MGM, Wynn or Caesars. Casino Porto Carras in Greece only has 277 slots, 5 American Roulettes, 7 Blackjack and just a few poker tables.
Casino Lisboa, in Portugal claims to be the largest casino in Europe and barely boasts 1000 slot machines and 26 tables, whereas The Venetian in Macau has over 3000 machines and 870 tables. Even Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut has over 7000 machines and 400 tables. There is a huge opportunity for a city like Munich to become the center of gaming in all of Europe.
Finally, most European casino resorts rely on their colorful history and medieval architecture to lure tourists in with the charm of the "Old Country." At best, they offer unique spa and dining experiences in addition to their classical casinos. Without a complete remodel, it's all they have the potential to offer. Many of them are truly elegant and unique, such as the Lopesan Costa Meloneras in Spain. Yet the opportunity to develop anew in a city with the history and the modernization of Munich invites something completely new and different. To be able to create an old meets new concept in a luxury casino resort at the foot of the snow covered Alps, not that is truly worthy of a Wynn.
Image Sources: travellingpanties.com, optimuswelding.com, boxinginsider.com, casino-baden-baden.de