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Andorra – Casinos Austria partners with Universo Bomosa for Andorra casino bid

By - 2 February 2018

Casinos Austria International is teaming up with local Andorran company Universo Bomosa to put forward three proposals for the casino licence in Andorra.

In terms of investment the largest is the proposed casino located in El Clot d’Emprivat where the company would make use of an architectural project, which is already under development. Investment would stand at €17.9m. The company proposes the creation of a 3,952 square meter gaming space, income would stand at €30.4m and the complex would generate 234 jobs. Almost €20m would be generated by the gaming business while an additional €10.8m more would be obtained from other activities which the complex would run in tandem with the casino. The complex would be operational 21 months after the licence is granted, according to the company.

Meanwhile an investment of €13.3m is planned for the proposed project in the spa resort of Caldea in Escaldes-Engordany. The project would create 197 jobs while income is forecast to stand at €23.4m of which €14.8m would come from the gaming business. The casino would be operational in 11 months from the granting of the licence.

Eleven months is also the proposed deadline for the third casino proposal which would be located in the Andorra la Vella Congress Centre. The company would invest €14.4m in the project, employ 197 people and the company forecasts that the complex would generate €24.5m if approved.

Bomosa highlighted the fact that the casino would provide a huge boost the economy and would attract between 360,000 and 400,000 visitors a year. The economic impact in the country of the entire centre project could reach as much as €51.7m. The company said that should it win the licence that within the next few years it would be able to allocate a significant part of the profits, €3m, to socially responsible actions that will go back into the country. The company was founded by Andorran businessman Turi Mora in 2004 and is committed to sustainable development. The company has created more than ten companies and has allocated more than €1.2m to philanthropic projects already.

Director of the Bomosa Foundation, Sergi Penedès, explained that the goal is to bring tourists during the months that tend to be weaker in terms of tourist numbers such as April, May, June, September, October and November. Penedès added that, “we want it to be more than a casino: a space for everyone and for everyone”.

Each of the casinos would provide a meeting place for tourists and locals alike and would offer a number of different entertainment options including live music, fairs, arts, conferences and gastronomy, which would all merge into a single space. Small-designated spaces for smokers are foreseen while “responsible gaming” would also be a priority for the company in line with Casinos Austria International policies when it comes to detecting and controlling gambling addiction amongst visitors to its casinos. Casinos Austria would also put in place a number of strict measures to prevent money laundering.

In 2013, the government first gave the go ahead to a single casino licence. Casinos had until then been banned from the Catalan-speaking country, which operates as a tax haven. In January 2015, the legislative committee of Andorra completed the draft of a bill that paved the way for a land-based casino and online gaming in the tiny Pyrenees country, located on the border between France and Spain. The Minister of the Presidency, Antoni Riberaygua, said at the time that the opening of the gambling market in Andorra would be achieved gradually and expressed his hope that the addition of a casino would boost tourism to the principality, which has over 10m visitors each year. The deadline to submit offers to manage the single Andorran casino ended October 31 2017 and the bidding process is being organised by the Andorran Gaming Control Board (CRAJ).

In November 2017, more details emerged regarding how the new casino licence will be awarded. The maximum score that each offer can reach will stand at one hundred. According to the CRAJ, operators must first show the availability of land, building or premises for the casino and show that it must have at least 2,000 square meters for the public, not including terraces and outdoor spaces. Once this has been established the board, along with other government bodies, will award points based on a number of other key criteria.

The licence is being hotly contested. Nine business groups have presented thirteen potential projects in 13 different locations with eight proposals in Escaldes-Engordany and five in Andorra la Vella.

The most popular location is Caldea, with a total of five options, while three companies have submitted an offer to locate it in different areas of Clot d’Emprivat, two have chosen the Andorra la Vella Congress Center, two more Avenida Meritxell and one behind Prat de la Creu street.

Spanish group Cirsa has presented a plan to locate the casino in a plot of the Clot d’Emprivat, near Illa Carlemany, and a second in Caldea. French operator Barrière wants to develop a casino on the ground at the top of Avenida Meritxell, opposite the Pyrenées. The Raineau group, has developed its blueprint for a casino in the Congress Center. Andorran Games SA and Bingo Star’s has presented two locations: Caldea, and a newly built building in the old ‘skate park’ of Prat de la Creu street.

The Cierco group has teamed up with French operator Partouche to build the casino in the old hotel Sàlvia of Avinguda Meritxell of Andorra la Vella.

Malaysian casino group Genting and the real estate group ARC Resorts have pinpointed a plot of land at Clot d’Emprivat whilst Russian company Mercury, and the French group PVG, which manages several mountain hotels and a casino in the Alps, have put forward a single location in Caldea.

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