12 October 2005

The Web
Business Today

Casinò di Venzia sale in jeopardy

James Debono

As the Vittoriosa Casinò di Venezia is set to sport a new look on Friday, after undergoing a refurbishment, talks on its sale to the Israeli group Queenco are in jeopardy.
Although the President of the Casinò di Venezia Dr Mauro Pizzigati insists that talks with the Israeli company Queenco are still on, it is proving difficult to convince the Israelis to invest in the building of a new hotel alongside the casinò.
The 10-year concession to Vittoriosa Gaming Ltd to develop a casino at the Birgu waterfront was granted on condition that the company would construct a new hotel. “We cannot afford to sell the casinò and end up with the obligation of building the hotel ourselves,” Pizzigati told the Italian newspaper il Gazzettino di Venezia.
Vittoriosa Gaming Ltd will still be able to enjoy the concession if the shares of the Italian company owned by the Venice local council are sold to another company.
But if the new buyers do not take upon themselves the obligation to build the hotel, the Italian company will still have to build the hotel otherwise the concession would be lost.
Pizzigati took over at the helm of the Casinò di Venezia in August. He is still determined to follow the Venetian mayor’s strict instructions to sell the Maltese casinò as soon as possible.
The Mayor of Venice has repeatedly insisted that Venice can no longer afford to run the loss making casinò in Vittoriosa which was losing EUR100,000 a month.
Pizzigati insisted that discussions with the Israeli company Queenco have continued during the past weeks “but we cannot ignore the problem posed by the obligation to build the hotel.”
The Israeli company Queenco, the prospective buyer of the Vittoriosa Casinò operates eight casinòs in Taiwan and Greece.
In the meantime the Maltese casino has been under new management since August.
The new management has decided to place the gaming rooms on the first floor, instead of having them on the ground floor, where they were until now.
General manager Marco Battaggia said part of the ground floor would in future be used for another project to be announced at a later date.
A new management has been appointed after a clash between GWU trade unionist Josef Bugeja and former director Giuseppe Moscheni.
Earlier on in summer, a letter sent by Bugeja to the director general of the Casinò di Venezia Armando Favaretto denouncing Moscheni’s behaviour, prompted an inspection by three top Italian officials of the casino.

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