The government of the tiny nation needs one more month to review the paperwork filed by companies opposing the issuing of a casino license to local company Jocs SA
The government of Andorra has extended the deadline for issuing its response to the appeals filed against the granting of a casino license to November 27. Andorra officials had up to Monday, October 29 to decide what their next actions regarding the pressing issue would be.
The Andorra Chief Executive (Prime Minister), Antoni Martí, said Monday that the government needed more time to review the appeals as they all included huge volumes of documentation.
The issue stems from the issuing of a casino license for the construction of a boutique integrated resort in Andorra. The Andorra Game Control Board (Consell Regulador Andorrà del Joc (CRAJ)) selected this past summer local gaming company Jocs SA as the winning bidder for the development of the gaming and entertainment property.
Jocs SA had pitched an offer for the construction of a €15-million casino resort that is expected to create more than 160 new jobs and to annually attract 200,000 international visitors. The gaming and entertainment complex is also expected to generate over €90 million in an economic impact.
According to analysts, the fact that Jocs was a 100% Andorra-owned company was among the main factors in it being selected as the winning bidders. The tiny nation’s gaming regulator had received as many as 13 different bids, including a €105-million offer from Genting UK, subsidiary of Malaysian gambling and hospitality giant Genting Group.
The announcement about Jocs being picked as the winning bidder unleashed a wave of discontent among the other companies who had submitted offers and accusations that the bidding process had not been conducted properly.
Reports have also emerged that one of the companies has accused Game Control Board Director Xavier Bardina of interfering in the selection process.
What’s Next for the Andorra Casino Issue?
Following the announcement that Jocs would be granted the sole casino license, five of the unsuccessful bidders filed appeals, asking for a review of the bidding process and the opening of a new such process that would be conducted in a more comprehensive and transparent manner. Genting, Cirsa, Casinos Austria, Partouche, and Barrière were the five companies to separately appeal the issuing of a gaming license to Jocs.
Of these five, four (excluding Barrière) asked for annulment of the Game Control Board’s decision and the granting of the license. Jocs submitted the necessary documentation to be issued the license in July. The Andorran gambling regulator then had two months to review the company’s application. It extended the review by a month and then confirmed that it would use a second extension.
The regulator can only extend the process twice, which means that once the second extension period runs out, the body could issue the casino license ahead of the government’s decision on the matter. Involved parties have expressed concerns namely to the possibility of Jocs being awarded the contended license before the government’s decision.
As mentioned earlier, Andorra lawmakers have up until November 27 to review all appeals filed and to decide whether a new bidding process would be opened or Jocs would be given the go-ahead to proceed with the construction of the casino resort.
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