Global Casino Technology Corporation, Pama e Hijos, Olympic Entertainment Group and Automáticos Canarias-Grupo Orenes have all applied to take part in the Tenerife tender.
In Tenerife, the government has confirmed that four companies have applied to take part in the tender for the island’s three publicly-owned casinos, which reportedly has a starting price of €24.9m.
Following the announcement in late November, Global Casino Technology Corporation, Pama e Hijos, Olympic Entertaiment Group, and Automáticos Canarias-Grupo Orenes were given a month to submit supporting documentation.
After this they will have an additional four month win- dow in which to submit their full bids, which must include a tourist investment project worth at least €4.5m for either Adeje, Puerto de la Cruz, or Santa Cruz, the three towns where the casinos are located.
This project must be developed within a four year timeframe and needs to be linked to the respective casino, although other tourist amenities may be included.
The sale has been welcomed by the majority of the principal political parties on the island, including the Canarian Coalition (CC), the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), and the People’s Party (PP).
The spokesperson for the PP, Sebastián Ledesma, praised the Island Council of Tenerife’s decision to divest itself of the properties. “The council has to move away from publicly-owned businesses. The decision is the correct one. We should let the market freely regulate itself,” he explained.
PSOE councillor, Miguel Ángel Pérez, acknowledged that the government had guaranteed the job security of the casinos’ employees as part of the sale conditions. “They should have realised this divestiture a long time ago,” he added.
The tender specifications require the new operator to retain all 121 members of staff currently employed by the three properties for a period of at least two years.
Although local politicians’ response to the sale has been largely positive, nevertheless it has generated controversy.
The Spanish General Worker’s Union (UGT) has strongly urged the local government to call off the tender, asserting that the privatisation of the casinos “is not justified under any circumstances” and launched a legal challenge against the sale in late October.
“The UGT’s legal services are working to stop what amounts to the robbery of the patrimony of the island’s citizens,” said Gustavo Santana, the secretary general of the UGT in the Canary Islands.
“For our part, we will use all means available to us to defend what’s best for all the employees that work in the casinos, with the final objective that this disgraceful political decision will be reversed.”
The proposal to privatise the island’s casinos was first unveiled in May 2013, while the current president of the council, Carlos Alonso Rodríguez was serving as Tourism Minister.
The following year – with Alonso Rodríguez now at the helm – the council moved forward with these plans in 2014, holding a licence tender for Casino Playa de Las Americas.
However, the property failed to attract any bidders, while the sale drew criticism from both opposition councillors and union officials.