Casino services firm Macau Legend Development Ltd officially began construction of its EUR250-million (US$283-million) casino resort in the African island nation of Cape Verde, according to media reports.
A ceremony to mark the event was held on Monday, attended by David Chow Kam Fai, co-chairman and chief executive of Macau Legend, and by Cape Verde’s Prime Minister, José Maria Neves.
“This project will allow tourism in Cape Verde to reach new heights,” Mr Neves said during the event, quoted by Portuguese news agency Lusa. He added that the government’s goal was to increase the number of annual tourist arrivals to the country from the current 600,000 to about 2 million over the next few years.
“This project is another pillar for the development and transformation of Cape Verde,” Mr Neves stated.
Hong Kong-listed Macau Legend runs two casinos in Macau: Babylon Casino at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf; and Pharaoh’s Palace Casino at the Landmark Hotel, both on Macau peninsula.
The Cape Verde project (pictured in an artist’s rendering)– which will include luxury hotels, a casino, a convention centre and a marina – was officially confirmed last year, after years of discussions between Mr Chow and the country’s government. As part of the deal, Macau Legend was granted a 25-year casino concession and “an exclusive nationwide operation of online gaming, physical and online sports betting,” for a period of 10 years from the start of operations, according to company filings.
The casino resort will be located on a 152,700 square-metre (1.6 million square-foot) land plot in Praia, the capital city of Cape Verde, on Santiago Island. It will be Cape Verde’s largest tourism resort.
Construction is expected to take three years.
Mr Chow also acts as Cape Verde’s honorary consul to Macau.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau