In a last minute u-turn, the Andorran Gaming Control Board (CRAJ) has suspended granting a licence to local company Jocs SA for a casino in the microstate’s capital, Andorra la Vella.
In a statement, the regulator confirmed that the decision had been made during a meeting on 30 January, after the CRAJ found “deficiencies” in the proposal presented by Jocs in July 2018.
The board stated that the company had not complied with the regulations and the conditions stipulated for the licence tender.
It stated that Jocs had not proven that it had registered the trade name Casino de les Valls as ell as the corresponding trademark, which “had to be valid for the entire license concession”.
The CRAJ also highlighted discrepancies between the architectural project presented by Jocs during the tender and the one which was finally validated by the Architects Association of Andorra in December.
The decision to award the licence to Jocs generated significant controversy with six of the competing bidders in the tender recently launching separate legal challenges, following an unsuccessful appeal against the outcome.
The grounds cited by the CRAJ for not issuing the licence echoed arguments made by Barrière in a lawsuit filed in mid-January, in which the company and its bidding partner, Andorran firm Lleure 3D, called for the “urgent suspension” of the licence adjudication process.
The companies alleged that Jocs has not proved it has leased the land where it hopes to build its casino venue, and points out that Genting’s bid was previously dis- qualified during the tender for this reason. Their complaint also questions the viability of certain aspects of Jocs’ architectural plan for the project and suggests the company has not obtained the relevant planning permission in order to realise them.