Five operators appeal Andorran licence tender


The operators have launched individual appeals to challenge the Andorran Gaming Control Board’s decision to award Andorran firm Jocs SA the licence for the microstate’s first casino.

Five of the operators which participated the tender for Andorra’s first casino licence have launched an appeal against the outcome.

Andorra-based Jocs SA won the tender to build and operate the principality’s first casino, which will be situated in the capital, Andorra la Vella.

Following the completion of the tender process in July, the losing bidders were given a one month window to request copies of the relevant reports for analysis and decide whether they wished to make an appeal.

Genting Casino UK, local company Universo Bomosa, French groups Barrière, Cierco-Partouche, and Spain’s Cirsa have each decided to separately appeal the Andorran Gaming Control Board’s (CRAJ) licence decision.

Last month, it was reported that the operators would not rule out a legal challenge if the government’s response to their appeal was negative, with the firms criticising “serious irregularities” in the tender process.
On 12 July, the companies legal teams met at the headquarters of the Bar Association of Barcelona to evaluate “all the legal actions” open to them.

Launched in 1994, Jocs SA, also known as Joc Privat, is headed by the former mayor of the city of Ordino, Ventura Espot, and started as a publication covering the Spanish gambling industry.

The company plans to construct a four-storey building including two underground car parks, which will span a total area of 4,000sqm in total.

The company will invest a total of €15m in the casino project which is scheduled launch by the end of 2020. It is estimated that the new venue will generate €12m a year and attract 190,000 visitors.

Speaking last month, representatives for Jocs SA confirmed that clearance work on the site of the venue will begin by mid-September.

In 2013, the government first gave the green light for a single casino licence in the Catalan-speaking country, while the CRAJ opened the bidding process for the construction of a land-based casino in July 2017.

A total of nine casino operators submitted 13 bids for the contract, with Genting Casino UK entering one of the highest, putting forward a proposal for a €140m integrated resort project.

However, Genting was disqualified from the bidding process due what the CRAJ described as a “purely technical” issue surrounding securing the land where it hoped to build.

In its criteria for the tender, the CRAJ stated that operators first needed to establish the availability of land or premises for the casino development, which was required to offer at least 2,000sqm in public space, excluding terraces and outdoor areas.

Following this, the board, in conjunction with other government bodies, awarded points based on a number of key criteria, including architectural design, locations and proximity to tourist services, quality, development time, and the economic benefits and employment generated.

With the maximum number of points per offer capped at one hundred, the CRAJ awarded a maximum of ten points based on the investment that the project will contribute, with up to a maximum of five additional points based on each additional €350,000 allocated to the project.

Jocs SA won the tender with 81.53 points, Barrière came in second place with 78.80 points, while Partouche came in third with 75.90 points.