The Dragonara Casino celebrated its 50th anniversary on Wednesday, with a private concert and reception. Malta’s Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business Chris Cardona and Johann Schembri, Managing Director of Dragonara Gaming, addressed the guests.
The Dragonara Casino opened its doors on 15 July 1964, as one of the first major projects to establish Malta as a tourist destination. Dragonara Gaming, a fully Maltese owned company, took the helm in June 2010. “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,” said Johann Schembri. “We set out to attain this ambition on the first day we took over the operation, mindful of the fact that we must preserve the past whilst investing in the future.”
Since 2010, the company has invested over €15m in refurbishment works and product upgrades. The casino was acquired in 2010 by Dragonara Gaming, a consortium led by the Novomatic Group and including Pinnacle Gaming and the Bianchi Group, which at the time pledge to invest €26.5m in the project. Today, the Dragonara Casino attracts over 1,000 patrons a day, enjoys a 50 per cent market share and has a staff compliment of 200. During the event, Mr. Schembri unveiled a new investment programme that will see the company invest in a multi-million-euro extension development and restoration of the Dragonara Peninsula.
The investment plan includes, amongst others, the restoration of the Palace, the surrounding fortifications and main gate, the embellishment and landscaping of the surrounding grounds including the main avenue and the reconstruction of some architectural features that have been lost over the years.
The development project will include the reconstruction of the building at the north tip of the peninsula known as ‘Dragonara Point.’ This will accommodate an International Poker Venue capable of attracting international renowned brands to Malta, a casino extension aimed to develop the private gaming niche and a Sports book.
The project will include private suites for international high rollers and a club to be run by a top international franchise. An underground parking facility of 250 parking slots will complement the project.
“Once completed, the project will provide tangible economic benefits for Malta,” said Mr. Schembri.
“The project will create an additional 120 new jobs, contribute millions in additional gaming tax and provide the hospitality industry with thousands of incremental bed nights, especially in the shoulder months.