Portugal problems for Macau’s casino operating Ho family

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In Portugal and the firm established by late Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-Sun is reportedly at risk of losing its license to operate the southern European nation’s Casino Lisboa and Casino Estoril properties.

According to a Tuesday report from the Bloomberg news service, an entity known as Estoril Sol SGPS SA is responsible for both of these prominent venues but is set to see its existing 15-year concession expire at the end of the year. Portugal’s Economy Ministry purportedly launched an associated licensing campaign in August and has so far received firm bids from the current operator and an unknown second party.

Subordinate submission:

The news service reported that Estoril Sol SGPS SA is controlled by a holding enterprise known as Finansol, in which the Ho family’s Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau SA concern owns a 57.8% stake. This latter company is moreover the parent of Macau casino giant SJM Holdings Limited and recently purportedly revealed that its Portugal license bid has an inferior value to the proposition lodged by the unidentified rival.

Reportedly read a statement from Finansol…

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“Overall, the competing offer had a higher value than the offer presented by our own subsidiary.”

Troubled trio:

The Servicos de Regulacao e Inspecao de Jogos (SRIJ) gaming regulator is reportedly handling the tender for the Casino Lisboa and Casino Estoril concession following the issuance of multiple coronavirus-related extensions and is now hoping to have awarded the new 15-year licenses complete with sole five-year extension clauses by the conclusion of next month. The authorization for the smaller Casino da Povoa venue in northern Portugal, which is similarly held by Estoril Sol SGPS SA, is not due to expire until 2025 but could purportedly also be put at risk if its current proprietor loses out.

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Entrepreneurial exploits:

Ho died in 2020 at the age of 98 and had reportedly been one of the leading figures in helping to transform the former Portuguese enclave of Macau into the planet’s most lucrative casino hotspot. The businessman purportedly known as ‘the king of gambling’ had held the license to run the Casino Estoril, which is the largest facility of its kind in the whole of Europe, for many decades alongside several compatriot real estate investments.

Familial foundations:

Bloomberg reported that 60-year-old Pansy Ho Chiu-King, who is the eldest daughter of Ho’s second wife, serves as the current Chair for Estoril Sol SGPS SA and recently saw the enterprise’s aggregated annual revenues for 2021 drop by roughly 2.2% year-on-year to approximately $132 million. This company purportedly furthermore holds a selection of local online gambling and sportsbetting licenses but is now facing the real prospect of starting 2023 with just one land-based casino in Europe.

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