A €10m investment from Maltese casino operator Pinnacle Gaming Group has seen a range of new features installed at the Dragonara Casino, including a selection of custom-designed live table games from TCS John Huxley and slots from Scientific Games.
The management of Malta’s Dragonara Casino has announced plans for a grand re-opening on July 15, following a project of extensive refurbishment work and product upgrades that saw the property temporarily closed.
Casino operator Pinnacle Gaming Group channelled €10m of investment into the upgrade work, which it claims will provide patrons with “an unparalleled casino experience in the local market”, by way of “the latest state-of-the art gaming products”.
New features and facilities at the Dragonara will include a suite of the latest slot machines from world-leading suppliers, a fresh interior design specifically set up for the electronic live gaming casino experience, a new poker room complete with sea views, as well as a dedicated sports lounge and casino brasserie. Meanwhile, a new cocktail bar has also been installed right at the heart of the casino floor, while a second restaurant, the Marquis Terrace, will broaden the culinary offering of the property. “
When we took over the concession to operate and manage the Dragonara Casino, our vision was to create the foremost gaming and entertainment destination in southern Europe,” stated Pinnacle managing director, Johann Schembri. “Our fresh investment of €10m, coupled with an initial investment of over €15m, is a clear and unequivocal sign of our outlook for the Dragonara Casino in what is a very intense competitive local market. We have grand plans for the future and our aim is to transform the Dragonara Peninsula into the foremost gaming and entertainment resort in Southern Europe.”
The property’s new live table gaming equipment was custom designed and supplied by casino equipment specialist TCS John- Huxley – continuing a long-standing relationship between the Dragonara and the UK-headquartered supplier.
“We’ve supplied products to the Dragonara for several decades now,” commented Steph Nel, senior business development manager for TCS John Huxley in Europe. “We were delighted to work with the casino once again, providing the highest quality bespoke furniture for this latest phase of development.”
Scientific Games Corporation counts itself among Dragonara’s slot suppliers, with Marco Herrera, the company’s vice president and managing director in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, stating: “Scientific Games is thrilled to partner with Dragonara Casino to offer their players the world’s best casino gaming experiences. Dragonara Casino has a rich history of offering a unique casino experience to its guests. We are proud to be a part of that tradition as Malta’s premier gaming and entertainment destination continues to grow and prosper.”
Positioned on the Dragonara Peninsular on Malta’s northern shoreline, the Dragonara is the oldest of the country’s four casino properties, having first opened its doors on July 15, 1964. At that time, it was considered one of the first major projects to establish Malta as a tourist destination.
Pinnacle took over management of the Dragonara in 2010. The company administers to the property by way of its subsidiary company, Dragonara Gaming.
The re-opening of the property comes as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) reported a year-on-year increase in revenues for the 12 months to December 31, 2015, with executive chairman Joseph Cuschieri describing the year as “intensive and rewarding” for the country.
Revenue for the national regulator came in at €60.9m, up 4.3 per cent on the €58.4m generated in the previous 12-month period. Malta’s land-based industry saw revenues expand by three per cent year-on-year to €78.1m, with the amounts played in this sector standing at €333.1m and total winnings coming in at €255m. A total of €55.8m was collected in gambling taxes, up from €53.2m in 2014, while the sector made a direct contribution of 8.2 per cent to Malta’s gross value added in the economy, MGA said.
MARKET SNAPSHOT MALTA
The Dragonara Casino is the largest and most significant of the four casinos in the Mediterranean island nation of Malta – the others being the Casino Malta (positioned within the Intercontinental Hotel in the town of St. Julian’s), the Oracle in St. Paul’s Bay and the Casino at Portomaso (pictured). A fifth property, the Casino di Venezla, went bankrupt and closed its doors in 2013. Offering 285 slot machines and 18 live table games, as of 2013 the Dragonara accounted for as much as 47 per cent of revenue market share in the country, attracting approximately 350,000 players throughout the course of the year.
Though small, the country’s landed casino industry has been making local headlines of late, after it was discovered that despite having sat vacant for two years, the Casino di Venezla’s operating licence was only recently revoked by the Malta Gaming Authority. The news prompted a broader investigation by The Times of Malta, which has petitioned the Maltese government for information regarding the potential for other dormant licences, as well as financial information regarding how much the state authorities have earned from fees associated with casino concessions. To date, the government has refused to disclose this data, citing commercial sensitivity.