Melco says Barcelona casino license delayed

Lawrence Ho’s MelcoLot says it has run into delays in its pursuit of a casino licence in the Spanish city of Barcelona due to political uncertainties.

In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the operator and developer said the delay may be due to uncertainty about urban planning within the government of Catalonia, the region where Barcelona is situated.

In May 2014, MelcoLot’s parent company Melco International signed a memorandum of understanding with Veremonte Espana S.L. of Spain that may include the management of at least one casino near Barcelona. However, in October, Melco said it would go it alone on the project “due to the lack of basis of further cooperation” with the Spanish partner.

BCN Dream will include more than 10,000 hotel rooms, an exhibition and meeting center and up to 5,000 residential units.

Since the Catalonia regional parliamentary elections in September 2015, Catalonia has not been able to form a government as no single political party has succeeded in securing an absolute majority of seats in the regional parliament, and the political parties have been unable to form a coalition government.

“Considering the developments described above, the timetable for conclusion of the definitive Master Plan is relatively uncertain at this juncture and may potentially delay the finalization of the Master Plan and subsequently the overall timetable of the tender process,” MelcoLot said.

MelcoLot said the proposed Master Plan was published during the third quarter of 2015 for public consultation, with the consultation period having expired on 1 December 2015.

The definitive Master Plan had been scheduled to be published within 3 months of the end of the public consultation period and applicants shortlisted for phase two of the tender process would submit their bids within one month after the publication of the definitive Master Plan.