By L. Kalamara
A new round of legal clashes between the troubled Club Hotel Casino Loutraki, west of Athens, and the Greek state has commenced, following this week's decision by the independent Hellenic Gaming Commission to issue an order temporarily suspending the casino's operation due to its refusal to pay a gaming tax on last weekend's revenues.
The total sum that the casino did not remit, according to the commission, totals roughly 200,000 euros.
In reply, the casino's management filed a motion for an injunction to block the decision ordering its temporary closure.
The embattled casino and resort, which is located in the seaside resort of Loutraki, some eight kilometers from the city of Corinth, has pointed to a recent and final decision by an appeals court ordering the state to return 44 million euros to the casino, by offsetting the adjudicated award with the non-payment of the gaming tax - up to the amount of 44 million euros.
A ruling by an Athens first instance court on the Loutraki casino's motion for an injunction is expected on Wednesday, with the casino's continued operation depending on the decision.
In broad terms, the casino in Loutraki, whose majority stake held by an Israeli consortium, but with a minority stake owned by the local municipality, has paid the state some 3.2 billion euros in taxes, fees etc. since 1995. However, at the same time the company's arrears to the state now exceed 10 billion euros, with an installment payment plan in place. The company also owes social security funds up to 13 million euros, and 3.5 million euros to its employees, roughly equaling 2.5 months in back wages.
The Loutraki casino and resort has also sought protection under a bankruptcy article, 106B, to settle other debts of up to 25 million euros, which are reportedly being paid via a settlement plan that it has abided by so far.