Portugal To Turn Over Two Land-based Casino Licenses to New Operators
Two land-based casinos in Portugal are now up for grabs for the right price. The country’s gaming regulator is accepting bids for two gaming concessions, which will expire at the end of this year.
Two years ago, Portugal’s Gaming Regulation and Inspection Services (SRIJ, for its Portuguese acronym) extended the concessions for the casinos of Figueira da Foz and Estoril because of COVID-19. However, it is time for them to end their contracts and go to an international competition.
As of December 31, the concessions of these casinos will end. As a result, the SRIJ has launched an international public tender for the casinos. The new licensees will receive 15-year concessions, with the possibility of renewing them for another five years.
Changing of the Guard
The application window for new licensees will remain open until the middle of September. Those companies who impress the SRIJ the most will receive the exclusive right to provide games of chance in their respective areas.
Both domestic and foreign businesses can apply. The primary stipulation, for a foreign operator, is that it have business residency in a country in the European Union or the European Economic Area. However, that country must also be party to internationally-recognized anti-money laundering (AML) standards.
Applicants don’t necessarily have to already be part of the gaming industry. For example, the owner of Casino Figueira is Amorim, a Portuguese company that specializes in cork products. It bought the casino concession from its previous holder, Sociedade Figueira Praia, a local gambling company.
On the other hand, Casino Estoril is part of a well-known entity in the casino industry. Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau operates the casino and is the parent company of SJM Holdings, a Macau casino concessionaire.
Other casinos will become available over the course of the next decade. For example, the concession for the casino in Póvoa ends in 2025. At the same time, the concessions for casinos in Espinho and three in Algarve expire.
In addition, two more will eventually become available. Casinos in Troia and Chaves have their concessions in place until December 2032.
Gaming Segments See Growth
Portugal has a long history of land-based gambling. However, in 2015, after finalizing regulations, the online sector moved in. As a result, the industry has begun to grow exponentially on both fronts.
The SRIJ reported record revenue of more than €69 million (US$68.66 million) in the last three months of 2020. In its most recent report, the regulator stated that licensed operators were responsible for gross gaming revenue of €146.4 million (US$145.69 million) in the second quarter of this year.
That was a 17% year-on-year increase. However, it was also an 8% quarter-over-quarter decrease. The latter figure shouldn’t worry casino operators, though. It came primarily at the expense of sports betting, which typically drops everywhere in the second quarter of the year.
Still, both land-based and online casinos continue to perform well. As the second half of the year continues to advance, both segments should see significant gains.
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