In Portugal and the Servicos de Regulacao e Inspecao de Jogos (SRIJ) gaming regulator has reportedly announced the official launch of an international tendering process for the licenses to operate two of the country’s most prominent casinos.
According to a Tuesday report from a source, the move comes as the current licenses for the venues situated in the seaside communities of Estoril and Figueira da Foz are due to expire at the end of the year following the issuance of multiple coronavirus-related extensions. These facilities, the Casino Estoril and the Casino Figueira, are currently being run by the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau SA parent of Macau casino giant SJM Holdings Limited and Amorim Group respectively but have purportedly been hard hit by the pandemic following a downturn associated with the nation’s 2016 legalization of online gambling.
The SRIJ reportedly detailed that the tenders are to remain open until the middle of next month and be accessible to companies already holding a physical presence in any European Union or European Economic Area nation. The regulator purportedly went on to explain that the eventual winners are to subsequently receive exclusive 15-year licenses complete with sole five-year extension clauses.
The source disclosed that Amorim Group is one of the world’s largest producers of cork products and purchased the Casino Figueira gambling license from the local Sociedade Figueira Praia SA enterprise in advance of the appearance of the coronavirus pandemic, which has been linked to the deaths of almost 25,000 people in Portugal. The SRIJ has purportedly moreover stipulated that any new licensees are to be required to become members of organizations monitoring their compliance with internationally-recognized anti-money laundering, fraud and tax administrative standards.
A second source reported that the public tender is being played out amid a general slowdown in Portugal’s ten-strong land-based casino sector, which saw its aggregated fourth-quarter gross gaming revenues reach about €69 million ($68.6 million). However, this situation purportedly improved over the course of the three months to the end of June as combined receipts topped €146 million ($145 million), which equated to a rise of 17% year-on-year while being a sequential decline of 8%.
The SRIJ reportedly has plans over the course of the coming decade to similarly offer up the licenses for some of the country’s other casinos including the Casino da Pavoa property currently being run by Varzim Sol. The existing concession for this operation is purportedly due to expire in 2025 at the same time as the authorizations for the nation’s Casino Espinho, Casino de Monte Gordo, Hotel Algarve Casino and Casino de Vilamoura venues although those for the Casino Troia and Hotel Casino Chaves enterprises are not due to conclude until December of 2032.