Catalan Grup Peralada is pre-accepted in the tender to win a BCN World mega-casino license
The Catalan Government has issued a provisional list of the companies that might be granted a license to build and run one of the 6 mega-casinos of the $6 billion BCN World resort to be developed next to Port-Aventura theme park. The surprises are that Catalonia-based Grup Peralada -which runs casinos, luxury hotels, an international performing arts festival and vineyards- is one of the contenders and that the offer with Caesars Entertainment has not been initially accepted. Veremonte, which promotes the entire BCN World project, announced that it had initially presented a total of 3 offers to get 3 casino licenses in association with Melco, Hard Rock and Caesars Entertainment. In addition, there were two non-disclosed additional bids: one from Grup Peralada and one presented by Melco by itself. The Veremonte-Hard Rock and Veremonte-Melco offers have also been pre-accepted, but a third offer from Veremonte and Caesars would be out of the tender, although an appeal might be filed.
Barcelona (ACN).- On Wednesday the Catalan Government issued a provisional list of the companies and joint-ventures that might be granted a license to build and run one of the 6 mega-casinos of the $6 billion BCN World resort to be developed in Salou and Vila-Seca, next to Port-Aventura theme park. The surprises are that Catalonia-based Grup Peralada – which runs casinos, luxury hotels, a golf course, an internationally-prestigious performing arts festival and vineyards – is one of the pre-accepted contenders and that the offer presented by Veremonte – which promotes the entire BCN World project – in association with Caesars Entertainment has been initially left out of the tender for not meeting the basic requirements. The Catalan Government stated that the bid had only been filed by the Spanish company and therefore it did not meet the requirement of having a proven record of 5 years in casino management. The three other pre-accepted offers have been filed by Veremonte-Melco, Veremonte-Hard Rock, and by Melco alone. In a press release, the promoter of the BCN World project stated that it welcomed the Catalan Government's first assessment of the candidates. However, Veremonte added that they will "work" with Caesars Entertainment on getting a casino license for the American company as well. Therefore, it is likely that the Spanish firm will appeal the Catalan Executive's initial decision regarding the pre-accepted contenders. The tender's first filter was to verify whether the candidates were meeting the terms of reference's basic requirements. The second stage, when the definitive licenses will be granted, will take place in a few months. Then, the Government will analyse the specifics of each project presented, on the bases of the town-planning framework. Since currently there are 4 pre-accepted offers – while waiting for the final decision regarding Caesars' bid – a maximum of 4 licenses could be granted, out of the total 6 that are foreseen in the final stage of the BCN World project. Veremonte and the Catalan Government have already said that the project would be built in several stages.
A few weeks ago, Veremonte announced that it had presented a total of 3 offers to initially obtain 3 casino licenses, in association with Melco, Hard Rock and Caesars Entertainment. In addition, there were two other bids by non-disclosed participants. Now, with the publication of the preliminary list, it has been made public that one is Grup Peralada's offer and the other one is a bid presented by Melco by itself, and both have been pre-accepted. It had not been announced that Melco would go for a second license, after the offer it already presented with Veremonte, which has also passed the first filter. The last pre-accepted project is the joint venture between Veremonte and Hard Rock.
Each of these offers have met the basic requirements of making a minimum investment of €300 million per license, proving to have at least 5 years of experience in managing casinos and not having been condemned for any felony. Grup Peralada already runs 3 casinos in Catalonia, including the ones in Barcelona and Tarragona. It also manages the Peralada golf course and luxury hotel in the Costa Brava. On top of this, each summer for the last 28 years it has organised the Castell de Peralada performing arts festival, which combines Catalan and Spanish musicians, dancers and actors, with top international artists. For instance, this summer's programme included French actor Gérard Depardieu, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, Cuban orchestra Buenavista Social Club and US singer Gloria Gaynor, among others. In addition, Grup Peralada runs several wine cellars and sea-food farms. The two other casino managers that might get a total of 3 licences are Chinese Melco, which runs large-scale casinos in Honk Kong and Macao, and Hard Rock, which runs several mega casinos such as in Las Vegas and Florida.
Veremonte has been reaching agreements with top international companies to develop the BCN World project. It firstly announced an agreement with Melco, Spanish hotel and resort manager Melià and UK luxury shopping mall company, Value Retail. Later on, Italian Investindustrial, which owns the amusement park PortAventura, announced it was joining the BCN World project. The Italian company would manage 3,000 hotel rooms and would associate the theme park with the planned mega holiday resort. On top of this, Ferrari announced it would build its first theme park in Europe next to PortAventura and BCN World. Veremonte also disclosed that Hard Rock would participate in the project. Finally, just a few weeks ago, it was known that US giant Caesars Entertainment, which runs several mega hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and worldwide, was joining the Catalan project.
The tender to grant the 6 mega casino licenses was launched in June. Veremonte announced it would initially go for 3 licenses: one with Melco, one with Hard Rock and a third one with Caesars. Currently there is a dispute on whether this last offer would be pre-accepted or not by the Catalan authorities. The Catalan Government has left it out of the tender since it considered it had only been presented by Veremonte without any other partner. However, the company states that US casino giant Caesars Entertainment is also behind it. The problem is that if Veremonte is the only company to make an offer, it does not meet the requirement of having a proven 5-year record in managing casinos. The Spanish company welcomed the completition of the tender's first stage, which has pre-accepted two of the three offers it presented, as well as a third one by Veremonte's partner Melco. However, it added that they will work with Caesars to get a license for the American giant as well. Veremonte did not confirm whether they will launch a formal appeal against the first stage decision, although this possibility seems quite likely.