In a significant development, the Government of Cape Verde has decided to revoke the concession for a hotel-casino project in Praia following the Macau Legend Development Group’s withdrawal from the venture in the Portuguese-speaking country. The announcement was made by Cape Verde’s Prime Minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva.
Prime Minister Correia e Silva explained, “First, we have to revoke the concession. This is a concession for operation and investment. There had already been indications for some time that there would be problems on the investor’s side, affecting their ability to complete the project.” This decision comes after Macau Legend Development Group, led by entrepreneur David Chow, cited financial and organizational issues among shareholders as reasons for discontinuing the project.
Impact on Tourism
The hotel-casino project was one of the most anticipated tourism developments in Cape Verde, with an estimated total investment of 250 million euros, roughly 15% of Cape Verde’s GDP. It included a tourist resort, a hotel with a boutique casino, a swimming pool, restaurants, bars, and a marina. Additionally, a bridge to the islet of Santa Maria in Gamboa was constructed as part of the project.
However, the project’s construction faced opposition from various quarters, including environmentalists and social movements. Environmental concerns and the need to protect the area’s delicate ecosystem were at the forefront of these objections.
New Plans and Opportunities
Macau Legend Development Group’s President and CEO, Li Chu Kwan, revealed that the company intends to cease operations in Cape Verde and Cambodia by 2025. This withdrawal from the Cape Verde project raises questions about the company’s plans and how this decision will impact its operations in Macau and other regions.
With the concession now revoked, the Cape Verdean government aims to reclaim the area and create conditions for new projects. The government hopes to make the most of this prime location for future tourism and economic initiatives.
Gaming in Cape Verde Versus Other African Regions
While Cape Verde’s gaming landscape is slowly evolving, it still lags behind countries like Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and South Africa, where a well-established gambling economy boasts major online betting sites and numerous casinos. In contrast, Cape Verde currently relies on a single operational casino, the Casino Royal in Santa Maria, Sal, which opened its doors in December 2016.
Cape Verde had outlined plans for gaming development by granting concessions in five permanent gaming zones across different islands, with only two concessions awarded thus far, including the one held by Macau Legend. However, the recent decision to revoke Macau Legend’s concession has cast doubts on the regulatory framework and the government’s approach to future gaming projects in the country.
Comparatively, a thriving gambling industry in South Africa contributes significantly to the national economy, featuring a range of betting options, including major South African online betting sites. The contrast between Cape Verde’s slow progress and such a well-established gaming sector highlights the challenges faced by emerging gaming markets.
The impact of this concession revocation on Cape Verde’s local economy and its broader gaming industry remains uncertain, prompting stakeholders to monitor the situation for potential repercussions and future developments closely.