Casino Life

Dragonara Casino Operator Awarded 10-Year License Extension

The company running one of Malta’s four land-based casinos, Dragonara Casino, has recently signed a new 10-year concession with the nation’s government after its old one expired in June.

Dragonara Gaming Limited has been operating the gambling venue since mid-2010 when it was first awarded the concession for the casino.

That original agreement expired in mid-2020 but Maltese lawmakers extended it twice for a period of six months through June 2021 as they needed more time to prepare the tender documents.

Dragonara said in a statement issued Friday that the new deal with the island nation’s government was set to take effect in August, enabling the company to run the casino for another ten years. As part of the agreement, the casino operator has agreed to invest €10 million in new technology and equipment to improve the venue’s offering.

As mentioned above, Dragonara Casino is one of Malta’s four land-based casino establishments, with Portomaso Casino, Casino Malta, and Oracle Casino being the other three.

Dragonara Casino is part of Palazzo Dragonara or Villa Dragonara in St. Julian’s Malta. The property was built in 1870 as the summer residence of the wealthy Scicluna family. The gambling facility features multiple slot machines, gaming tables, along with a poker room.

Casino Concession Unrelated to 2019 Agreement

In 2019, Dragonara Gaming drew the ire of fellow Maltese gambling operators after it received a 64-year extension to its lease agreement for Dragonara Casino by the government without a competitive tender.

The casino operator said that the 2019 agreement was unrelated to the casino concession that was held earlier this year.

The Maltese government launched an international tender for the casino license this past February, inviting interested operators to bid for the right to operate Dragonara Casino, which Palazzo Dragonara has been hosting since 1964.

Dragonara Gaming said at the time the tender was issued that it would consider participating in it after studying carefully the contents of the government’s request for proposals.

Commenting on their new ten-year agreement with the government, Dragonara Gaming CEO Johann Schembri said last week that when they took over the operations of Dragonara Casino more than a decade ago, they took over a “casino property that lacked investment and innovation and that “within a few years, through a very aggressive and well-planned investment programme, the Dragonara Casino regained its position as the leading casino in Malta and a respected name internationally.”

Mr. Schembri went on that they will continue to invest in the sector and “more importantly in developing a unique destination in one of the best locations in Europe.”

The Dragonara Palace is set to undergo new development and restoration in the coming few years and to introduce new entertainment concepts to complement the existing casino operations.

Source:vDragonara Casino operators sign new 10-year operating license, The Times of Malta, July 30, 2021

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