Lottery supplier MelcoLot Ltd confirmed it has submitted a bid to Spanish authorities to operate a casino in Barcelona.
The firm, listed on the Growth Enterprise Market of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, said in a filing on Friday that a wholly owned subsidiary Instant Glory Holdings Ltd “recently became a shareholder” of a company called BCN Integrated Resorts 2 SA, a 50-50 joint venture with Veremonte España SL.
BCN Integrated Resorts 2 “was formed for the purpose of submitting an application” for a licence to operate a casino at BCN World, a large-scale entertainment complex planned for Barcelona. The company submitted its application on July 25, the filing said.
Veremonte is the company promoting the BCN World project. Spanish businessman and entrepreneur Enrique Bañuelos heads the firm.
MelcoLot added that on August 6 it was informed by the Spanish authorities that BCN Integrated Resorts 2’s bid had passed to the second phase of the tender process, “which consists of preparation and assessment of detailed development proposals and granting of authorisations for the installation and exploitation of casinos”.
MelcoLot is controlled by Hong Kong-listed Melco International Development Ltd, headed by Lawrence Ho Yau Lung. Melco International is one of the two controlling shareholders of casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd – the other is Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd. Greek lottery supplier Intralot SA is also a substantial shareholder in MelcoLot.
Spanish news agency EFE reported on July 25 that at least three international gaming operators, namely Melco International, Hard Rock Cafe International Inc and Caesars Entertainment Corp, had submitted bids to operate casinos in BCN World. Media reports said all were partnering with Veremonte.
It is expected that BCN World will include casinos, hotels, convention centres, leisure centres and residential areas. Each casino licensee would have to invest a minimum of EUR300 million (US$403 million) in BCN World.
MelcoLot announced also on Friday it posted losses of HK$20.8 million (US$2.7 million) for the first half of the year, compared to losses of HK$6.7 million a year ago.
The company, a supplier of lottery products to mainland China, said total revenue for the period was HK$22.5 million, down 28 percent in year-on-year terms.
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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