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Ho family could lose two Portugal casinos to Spanish rival

The family of the late gambling tycoon Stanley Ho could lose the concession of two of the largest casinos in Portugal.

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It comes after a Spanish rival submitted a higher offer for the licence to operate both venues; The Casino de Lisboa in Lisbon, and Casino do Estoril in Cascais, a seaside town near the capital.

Both are currently operated by Estoril Sol SGPS SA, whose main shareholder is the Ho family. Stanley Ho’s eldest daughter Pansy is currently serving as Chairwoman of Estoril Sol.

The licence to operate both casinos expires at the end of December 2022, with the Portuguese Government opening an international tender for a new 15-year deal in August. Two bids were submitted; one from an Estoril Sol subsidiary, and one from Spanish Bidluck. The latter’s offer was €20m ($19.6m).

The tenders will now be evaluated, with Estoril Sol noting in a regulatory filing earlier this week: “Overall, the competing offer had a higher value than the offer presented by our own subsidiary.”

Casino do Estoril is one of the largest in Europe, with the 91-year-old venue hosting slot machines, a gaming room, restaurants and a 1,000-capacity theatre.

Estoril Sol also manages the Casino de Lisboa and the Casino da Póvoa do Varzim, in northern Portugal, along with owning online gambling and sports betting licences.

In 2021, the group’s revenue amounted to $132m, down slightly from $136m in 2020. Finansol, a holding company controlled by members of the Ho family, owns a 57.8 per cent stake in Estoril Sol.

Last month, Daisy Ho was appointed as the new Managing Director of SJM Resorts.


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