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France – Saint Amand les Eaux has its licence renewal to Partouche cancelled

By - 20 January 2020

A Lille judge has cancelled the renewal of the casino licence in Saint-Amand les Eaux with French operator Partouche following a challenge by losing bidder Grand casino de Dinant, although the municipality set to appeal the move to the Council of State.

The municipal council had opted to keep current licence holder Partouche as its chosen operator for another 20 years with its offer being deemed ‘more ambitious and more attractive’ than that presented by the Belgian group Grand casino de Dinant who later appealed the decision.

The magistrate of Lille said ‘it was up to the city to define the investments to be made to modernise the casino,’ which was not the opinion of the local Mayor Alain Bocquet. He slammed the decision of the Lille Administrative Court as being ‘incomprehensible and unacceptable, both from the point of view of the development of our spa town and in light of the previous decisions rendered by this same Court.’

“It is a legal principle in Public Service delegations that these elements must be determined by the candidates in order for the city to benefit from this competition,” he said.

Over the 20 years of the concession, Partouche had invested more than €26.6m wit its competitor looking to invest €21m. The two candidates had proposed a levy rate identical to 15 per cent on the gross proceeds of the games, for the benefit of the city.

Mr. Bocquet said that elected members of the commune’s public service delegation committee, ‘unanimously decided to appeal the decision.’

If the Council of State confirms the decision of the judge in summary proceedings, the city will have to start the procedure from scratch. As the current delegation ends in October, the municipality should then extend it by one year, allowing more time to revive a concession notice.

The casino is the ninth most profitable casino in France, generating GGR of €42.3m in 2018-2019 season.

In December 2013, the Partouche group had sold in December 2013 to the Belgian group led by Jurgen De Munck its casino in Dinant but then relations became strained with the Belgian company being retained by the municipality of Ostend to operate its casino from 2021, taking the licence away from the Partouche group. It is the last casino in the Kingdom operated by Partouche, which five years ago owned four out of nine.

Mr. De Munck co-created DR Gaming Technology (DRGT) in 2003, a company offering system and jackpot solutions, currently used in more than 50,000 devices in 50 countries around the world.

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