A special session of the parliament in Nordrhein-Westfalen state in Germany will meet on July 10 to address what the Social Democratic Party (SPD) called “suspicious balance sheet tricks” to facilitate the privatisation of Westdeutsche Spielbanken (WestSpiel).
The SPD requested a special session of the Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee that would allow it to ask some urgent questions to the state government.
The party claims that the ruling Christian Democratic Union and Free Democratic Party administration want to privatize WestSpeil at any cost. The SPD has that research suggested that this extended to manipulating the figures to make the business appear a more attractive investment that it actually is.
The privatization of WestSpiel, currently owned by state bank NRW.Bank, has been in debate since 2018, with legislation facilitating this finally passing in June 2020.
“We therefore have a number of questions in which the state government urgently needs to clarify matters regarding WestSpiel,” the SPD said. “The special meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee provides an opportunity to do this.”
Whereas WestSpiel has not announced its 2019 financial figures to the public in full, it stated in its 2019 sustainability report that it earned €136.8m in gross gaming revenue for the year, up 27% year-on-year. It then paid €65.8m in taxes for 2019, up 30.6%.
WestSpiel apparently runs 6 casinos, including 4 in Nordrhein-Westfalen, in Aachen, Bad Oeynhausen and Dortmund, with the last venue, Casino Duisburg, run by a subsidiary. It additionally runs two gambling businesses in the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. Two other venues may be established by the business’ private owner under the legislation passed last month.