The Malta Independent 8 March 2021, Monday

Casino concessions have a 10-year-term, Dragonara says as government issues Request for Proposals

Friday, 19 February 2021, 12:22 Last update: about 17 days ago

Dragonara Gaming Ltd has issued a clarification over the recent news that its 10-year Casino concession is coming to an end.

The Times of Malta reported that the Dragonara Casino could be replaced by a new operation after the government decided not to extend its 10-year concession and instead issue a fresh call for proposals. "The government's Privatisation Unit announced on Wednesday that it was accepting bids from parties interested in operating an €11 million casino from one of the island's designated tourist zones," the report read.

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In a statement, the Dragonara Gaming Ltd made some clarifications: "It is pertinent to point out that casino concessions in Malta have a term of 10 years and once these terms are over, the Government of Malta is obliged by law to issue a public tender. The current casino concession that was awarded to Dragonara Gaming Limited in June 2010 after a competitive process, expired in June 2020 but was extended by the Government of Malta for 2 consecutive 6-month periods, till June 2021, this due the fact that the preparation of the new concession tender amidst the Covid-19 pandemic was delayed. The forthcoming public tender to operate a casino in Malta as crystallised by the Request for Proposals issued by the Privatisation Unit on February 17, follows the same process that has taken place in the past and there is nothing extraordinary in this process."

"We expect the same process to happen when all the other casino concessions come to an end. It is also important to differentiate between 3 very important elements that have been mistakenly used interchangeably in describing the current situation: 1) A casino concession is adjudicated via a public tender every 10 years as issued by the Government of Malta; 2) A casino licence is awarded to the casino concessionaire by the Malta Gaming Authority once the Authority finds the entity that has won the public tender for the concession to be fit and proper to operate a casino; 3) The lease agreement signed between Dragonara Gaming Limited and the Government of Malta in 2019 has no connection to either the casino concession and the casino licence, but provides Dragonara Gaming Limited the exclusive rights to use the Dragonara Palace and it's adjoining grounds until 2083."

"With regards to the current concession opportunity, Dragonara Gaming Limited will study the contents of the RFP and subject to an internal review of the conditions will determine whether to participate in the tender. The company is fully compliant, has the right knowledge, experience and drive to successfully operate a casino in Malta as it has done in the past 11 years. The Dragonara Palace has housed Malta's foremost casino since 1964 and has been Malta's favourite casino with both local and international patrons ever since."

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