After the recent announcement of the exit of Macau-based Macau Legend Development Group by 2025, opting to focus more on developing non-gaming operations to lessen its dependence on gaming, the Cape Verdean Government will cancel the concession for the project of the development of hotel-casino in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, according to a statement of the Prime Minister of the country.
The decision followed indications that the investor will not be able to finish the project that has already been started:
Speaking on the matter, Ulisses Correia e Silva in Praia, according to Lusa, commented, according to Asia Gaming Brief: “We first have to revoke the concession. This is a concession for exploration and investment. There had been indications for some time that there would be problems on the investor’s side, their ability to complete the project.”
However, during an interview with TVB television from Hong Kong, during a broadcast on October 4, Li Chu Kwan, President and CEO of Macau Legend Development, revealed that the company plans to close operations in Cambodia and Cape Verde by 2025. In addition, he also revealed that the future focus of the firm will be the Macau’s mass business. However, in order to improve its tourism appeal, the firm is currently in the midst of negotiations with yacht firms from Greater Bay Area, with the goal of attracting additional number of tourists to visit their facility using yachts.
Relatedly, the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, said, while not participating in the official opening of the new academic year at the University of Cape Verde (UniCV): “Now we will proceed with the legal aspects to revoke the concession and then decide what to do with this investment, which cannot remain as it is.”
Shareholders’ organization and financial problems as the main reasons for the decision to abandon the project:
In a compilation with information from the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, the aforementioned Macau Legend, whose co-chairman is David Chow, listed shareholders’ organization and financial problems as the main reasons for its decision to withdraw from the project, which was once highly anticipated. Relatedly, Li revealed that the company now intends to upgrade its non-gaming facilities within Macau’s Fisherman Wharf, involving spa facilities and clubs.
Relatedly, according to Ulisses Correia e Silva: “The government will now take back the land that was granted under concession and create conditions for new projects to emerge in the area.”
According to the law on games of chance, 5 permanent gaming zones are defined on the islands of Boa Vista, Santiago, Maio, Sal and São Vicente. In relation to that, Cape Verde has so far confirmed 2 concessions, one for the island of Sal and the other for Macau Legend. At the moment, the mentioned city has just one operating casino, which is the Casino Royal in Santa Maria, Sal, which was officially opened back in 2016, after being financed with close to 5 million euros.
History of the planned project:
During 2015, David Chow officially signed a contract with the government of Cape Verde to construct a facility that will be located on Santa Maria island in Gamboa, with the groundbreaking ceremony happening in 2016. The entire project included the biggest tourist facility in that period, and the overall projected financing was 250 million euros, which is roughly 15% of Cape Verde’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The layout of the planned project involved the development of a tourist resort on 152.700 square meters, a boutique hotel-casino with 250 rooms (which has already been constructed, but stays closed), a swimming pool, different bars and restaurants and a marina. Also, a bridge was built that connects to the island.
However, during the construction phase, the project has already accumulated a lot of opposition from various social groups, especially environmentalists, involving a group of 12 paleontologists and scientists coordinated by the Gulbenkian Institute of Science in Portugal. In addition, members of the “Korrenti di Ativista” movement from Cape Verde who camped on the Santa Maria island also opposed the project. All of this opposition escalated to the point that the previous president of the Cape Verdean Architects’ Association (OAC), Cipriano Fernandes, even asked for the involvement of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to stop the project.
What’s more, the Macau Legend has officially obtained a 25-year license from the Cape Verdean government, with 15 out of 25 years being for “exclusive operation” on Santiago island. The price of the aforementioned concession for games of chance was roughly 1.2 million euros, when it was bought by CV Entertainment Co., an branch of the aforementioned firm. But that’s not all; as Macau Legend has also secured a special license which allowed it to “exclusively operate” online gambling across the country and sports wagering market for 10 years.