he building that has housed the casino for the past 30 years is government property that lets out its management, in contrast with other casinos that are owned by those who manage them.
According to Anna Maria Rengo the three companies submitting an offer for the casino are the present management team, the Dragonara Casino Ltd (which is controlled by the French company Barrière); Tomino Ltd (which manages two of the four casinos in Malta - Portomaso and Oracle); and the consortium Novomatic Peninsula (composed of Novomatic and Pinnacle Gaming, which through Faiplay operates in the majority of bingo halls in Malta).
The government of Malta had asked for expressions of interest by companies that are experienced in the running of casinos and which are able to afford the hefty capital investments needed for the refurbishing of the building, its strengthening and modernization, as well as to improve the competitiveness of the casino within its sector.
The winning management team must also retain the present 225 employees and will be able to enter into the management only after next January.
It would seem, the report added, that the competition presented by the many gaming outlets and illegal betting is very much part of the negotiations. Last February the Casinò di Venezia in Malta, Oracle Casinò and the Dragonara Casinò had sued the Finance Ministry and the Gaming Authority chairman, referring to the high number of irregular betting shops that had begun to operate without any authorisation over the past months.
Following the presentation of the expression of interest, the website added, the government-appointed evaluation board will draw up by 19 September a shortlist of the candidates (since they are only three, maybe they will all be allowed on to the next stage, the website said), and by 23 October the adjudication of the tender will be announced. The winning team will begin managing the casino as from 15 January 2010.