The Government of Cape Verde will revoke the concession for the hotel-casino project in the city of Praia, following the abandonment of the Macau Legend Development group, the country’s Prime Minister announced.
“We first have to revoke the concession. This is a concession for exploration and investment. There had been indications for some time that there would be problems on the investor’s side, their ability to complete the project,” said Ulisses Correia e Silva in Praia according to Lusa.
In an interview with Hong Kong’s TVB television, broadcast on Wednesday night, the President and CEO of Macau Legend Development, Li Chu Kwan, announced that the group intends to shut down operations in both Cape Verde and Cambodia by 2025.
“Now we will proceed with the legal aspects to revoke the concession and then decide what to do with this investment, which cannot remain as it is,” the Cape Verdean Prime Minister on the sidelines of the opening of the new academic year at the University of Cape Verde (UniCV).
Li Chu Kwan, chairman and executive director of Macau Legend, mentions that the company will focus on mass business based in Macau. In order to enhance its tourist attraction, Macau Legend is negotiating with yacht companies from the Greater Bay Area, aiming at luring more tourists visiting their property via yachts.
According to Hong Kong media, Li revealed that the group plans to enhance its non-gaming amenities within Macau’s Fisherman Wharf. These include clubs and spa facilities.
According to the Cape Verde Prime Minister, the group, founded by businessman David Chow, cited financial and shareholder organization problems as reasons for abandoning what was one of the highly anticipated tourism projects in Cape Verde.
Ulisses Correia e Silva stated that the government will now take back the land that was granted under concession and create conditions for new projects to emerge in the area.
The Macau-based gaming operator Macau Legend Development Ltd recently announced its plan to exit several overseas projects in Cambodia and Cape Verde by 2025 as the company is actively developing non-gaming businesses to reduce dependence on gaming
In 2015, David Chow signed an agreement with the Cape Verdean government to build the development on the islet of Santa Maria in Gamboa, with the project’s groundbreaking taking place in February 2016.
The project involved the largest tourism development in Cape Verde at the time, with a total expected investment of 250 million euros – approximately 15 percent of Cape Verde’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The plan included the construction of a tourist resort spanning 152,700 square meters, a 250-room boutique casino hotel (which has already been built but remains closed), a pool, various restaurant and bar facilities, as well as a marina. Additionally, a bridge was constructed to connect to the islet.
The project’s construction faced opposition from various social groups, particularly environmentalists, including a group of 12 scientists and paleontologists coordinated by the Gulbenkian Institute of Science in Portugal.
It was also contested by members of the Cape Verdean “Korrenti di Ativista” movement who camped on the islet of Santa Maria. The former chairman of the Cape Verdean Architects’ Association (OAC), Cipriano Fernandes, even requested the intervention of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to suspend the project.
Macau Legend received a 25-year license from the Cape Verdean government, 15 of which were for exclusive operation on the island of Santiago. This gaming concession cost CV Entertainment Co., a subsidiary of Macau Legend, approximately 1.2 million euros.
Macau Legend also received a special license to exclusively operate online gambling throughout the country and the sports betting market for ten years.
The gaming law defines five permanent gaming zones on the islands of Santiago, São Vicente, Sal, Boa Vista, and Maio. Cape Verde has so far granted two concessions, one to Macau Legend and another for the island of Sal.
Currently, Cape Verde has only one operating casino, Casino Royal, in Santa Maria, Sal, which opened its doors in December 2016 after an investment of nearly five million euros.