Loss-maker Lasseters almost turns buck

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Queenstown’s loss-making Lasseters Wharf Casino is starting to turn the corner towards profit. 

Annual accounts for Lasseters’ 2010 financial year, obtained by Mountain Scene, show a massive improvement from the previous year’s thumping $3.1 million loss. 

The latest bottom line is a loss of just $35,073. 

Lasseters has incurred cumulative losses of $6.4m since buying the Steamer Wharf casino in 2006. 

The improved 2010 result stems from gaming revenue increasing by 6.7 per cent to $1.88m, a $67,000 foreign-exchange gain instead of a $365,000 foreign exchange loss, the virtual elimination of interest compared with last year’s $360,000 pay-out – and a cut in the management fee to the Singapore owners from $148,000 down to just $1161 this year. 

Wage costs stayed flat at $1.18m. 

If it hadn’t been for a big increase in depreciation, Lasseters – the smaller of the resort’s two casinos – would have returned a maiden profit. 

As reported last July, Lasseters bought the adjoining award-winning 115-seat Boardwalk restaurant in the middle of last year and integrated it into the casino. 

The latest financial accounts reveal Lasseters paid about $1.34m for Boardwalk. 

The casino’s heavy 2009 loss was largely due to cleaning up the balance sheet – $781,000 of goodwill was written off and the carrying value of the casino’s 25-year licence was slashed by $1.08m. 

The improvement in annual results was signalled early last winter by casino marketing manager Alex Vitale. 

He told Mountain Scene last June that he looked forward to another good winter, predicting “we’re going to start making a profit soon”. 

The latest results vindicate Vitale’s enthusiasm.