Estoril/Sol group to face competing bid in Portugal’s casino concession public tender

The Estoril/Sol group, the Portuguese gaming concessionaire linked to former Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho that has held the country’s main gaming concession for more than 60 years, will face a rival bid in the ongoing public tender that will award a new casino gaming exploration license in the European country.

According to a report by Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Negocios, the deadline for submitting proposals for the concession to operate the gaming areas of Estoril, including the Estoril, Lisbon and Figueira da Foz casinos ended on September 30, with two bids submitted.

The report indicates that the competing bid comes from an undisclosed international group with a proposed value higher than that of the Estoril/Sol proposal.

The Estoril and Figueira da Foz casino concessions would last for a contractual duration of 15 years, renewable for a further period of five years.

Some 57.8 per cent Estoril-Sun group is controlled by Finansol an entity held by the descendants of Stanley, with daughter Pansy Ho now chairing the board of directors.

The remaining of the company is either held by the Amorim Turismo group (32.7 per cent) via Sociedade Figueira Praia, with the remaining 9 per cent held by various small shareholders.

The concessions for the Estoril and Lisbon game rooms, as well as the one for Figueira da Foz, which is in the hands of Amorim Turismo, should have ended at the end of 2020, but were extended for another two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ho joined the Estoril Sol group in the 1980s, which he chaired until his death on May 26, 2020.

Aside from the historic Casino Estoril and the Casino da Póvoa, the group would add the Casino Lisboa, the largest in Portugal, in 2006.

The Lisbon gambling hall, Europe’s largest, generated gross receipts of €1,097 million since its opening, with the vast majority obtained through slot machines (82 per cent). It has so far involved an overall investment of €120 million.

Over the course of these 13 years, only Casino Lisboa paid the state €582.1 million and delivered prizes in the same period of €5330 million.

The group ended 2021 with €80.6 million in net revenue, a 9 per cent year-on-year jump, with the group’s operating results (EBITDA) increasing by 108 per cent to €10.6 million.

The group was also awarded the country’s first online gaming concession in 2016, in partnership with the Belgian company Gaming1.