Macau Legend Development has officially started construction of its €250m casino resort in Praia in Cape Verde, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Western Africa, in what it believes will be a three year build.
The project, which will be Cape Verde’s largest tourism resort, will include a 152,700 square-meters integrated resort and gaming facility along with retail, dining, a convention center, museum, function areas, a clubhouse and a marina. Co-Chairman, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Macau Legend, David Chow laid the first stone during a ceremony attended by Cape Verde’s Prime Minister, José Maria Neves.Mr. Chow is also Cape Verde’s consul to Macau.
He said: “This project will allow tourism in Cape Verde to reach new heights. This project is another pillar for the development and transformation of Cape Verde.”
The government wants to increase tourists to Cape Verde from 600,000 to over 2m over the next few years. It has granted the company a 25 years gaming concession, of which the first 15 years will be an exclusive concession for casinos, to Macau Legend.
The Macau-based operator, who operates the Babylon Casino at Fisherman’s Wharf and Pharaoh’s Palace Casino at the Landmark Hotel via a concessionaire deal with SJM Holdings, is looking to branch out into international operations following a downturn in trade domestically. Gaming tax has been set at 10 per cent of GGR with a deduction of 25 per cent of gaming tax for VIP patrons for 5 years and an exemption of income tax for 10 years.
Mr. Chow, said: “Cape Verde is a Portuguese-speaking country that enjoys political stability, beautiful scenery and pleasant climate with convenient transportation network. Tourism is the country’s core industry. In 2014, the tourism industry accounted for 22 per cent of its local GDP and is growing steadily. Cape Verde currently has four international airports; the largest one is in the capital city, Praia, which is also where our project is located.
“With a number of international routes connected to the rest of the world, it is able to attract tourists from North Africa, West Africa, Europe, South America, Central America and the Caribbean, thereby creating a new market, especially with the trend that more and more Chinese are emigrating and investing in these places and this saves them from flying long to Asia,” he added. “The project is also a first choice for short-term vacation, which will be comparable with Bali and Phuket and other world class tourist destinations.”
Macau Legend will also have the right to be the exclusive nationwide operator of online gaming, physical and online sports betting, for a period of 10 years.
Cape Verde ushered in its first casino with new gaming laws in May 2013 which allowed casino development on the islands of Boa Vista, Maio, Sal, Santiago and Sao Vicente. The €5m Casino Royal was the first to open in the tourist city of Santa Maria on Sal island, where it operates from the premises of the Hilton.