Dragonara Casino celebrates 50 years, announces extension and restoration project

The Dragonara Casino opened its doors on 15 July 1964, in what was considered as one of the first major projects to establish Malta as a tourist destination

Minister Chris Cardona addressed guests at the event
Minister Chris Cardona addressed guests at the event

The Dragonara Casino celebrated its 50th anniversary yesterday, with a private concert and reception.

The Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business Chris Cardona  and Johann Schembri, Managing Director of Dragonara Gaming Limited,  addressed the guests.

The Dragonara Casino opened its doors on 15 July 1964, in what was considered as one of the first major projects to establish Malta as a tourist destination. Dragonara Gaming Limited, 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 €15 million in refurbishment works and product upgrade. The Dragonara Casino attracts over 1,000 patrons a day, enjoys a 50% market share and has a staff compliment of 200.

During the event, 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 Schembri.

“The project will create an additional 120 new jobs, will contribute millions in additional gaming tax and provide the hospitality industry with thousands of incremental bed nights, especially in the shoulder months.

“The restoration project will also mark our contribution to Malta’s status as the European Capital of Culture 2018,” concluded Schembri.

Minister Chris Cardona stated that the new multi-million Euro investment project planned for the Dragonara Casino is a declaration of confidence in Malta, its people, its business potential and future success.

Cardona referred to the recent report by the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s that has affirmed Malta’s economy as stable and is expected to grow faster than currently anticipated if tourism exports continued to perform.

“Establishments such as the Dragonara Casino and others operating in the tourism sector have a very important role in enhancing the economic growth and economic stability of our country,” said Cardona.

At the end of the event, Cardona unveiled the restored statue of the Marquis Emmanuele Scicluna (1820 – 1886), a symbolic gesture marking a new era for the Dragonara Casino.