Portuguese gaming operator Estoril Sol SGPS SA – majority controlled by business interests connected to Macau casino entrepreneur Stanley Ho Hung Sun – launched this week what Portuguese media described as the first licensed website to offer legal online casino gambling in Portugal.
The website was established in partnership with an entity called Gaming1. The latter describes itself in a press release as part of the Ardent Group. The website’s licence is valid for a period of three years.
Estoril Sol runs three land-based casinos in Portugal: Casino Estoril, near the country’s capital Lisbon; Casino Lisboa, in Lisbon; and Casino da Póvoa, near Porto, Portugal’s second largest city.
The platform EstorilSolCasinos.pt (pictured) is available for mobile and desktop devices. It was launched offering 18 games, including video slots, roulette and blackjack. More content will be added later, Gaming1 said in its press release.
According to its latest annual report, Estoril Sol includes as members of its governing bodies several people who are also key executives at Macau-based casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd: Mr Ho is chairman of the board of directors of both companies; Rui Cunha, executive director of SJM Holdings, is chairman of the advisory board at Estoril Sol; and Ambrose So Shu Fai, chief executive of SJM Holdings, is a board member at Estoril Sol.
SJM Holdings is not a shareholder at Estoril Sol; Mr Ho and related parties control the company via Finansol – Sociedade de Controlo, SGPS.
Mr Ho’s daughter Pansy Ho Chiu King is a board member at Estoril Sol; she also chairs the firm’s executive committee. Ms Ho is not directly connected with SJM Holdings, but she is co-chairperson of Macau-based casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd.
Online casino gaming is currently not allowed in Macau. The city’s casino regulator so far has disclosed no plans to introduce changes to allow online casino gambling.
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