Five casino giants have expressed interest in building a casino resort at the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport near Athens, Greece, the Hellenic Gaming Commission has revealed.
The companies that have lodged initial interest in the mega-scheme are Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, Hard Rock International, and Melco Resorts & Entertainment. All five have participated in pre-tender consultations with possible investors held by the Greek gaming regulator. More meetings are planned to take place between the commission and representatives of the five companies as well as other potential investors.
Local news outlet Kathimerini reported that the meetings aim to brief possible license applicants about the terms and demands of the upcoming bidding process. The consultation period will run through September 10 and the Hellenic Gaming Commission will launch a call for bids shortly after.
The start of the bidding process will finally take place after a long delay. The gaming regulator was originally expected to begin accepting applications for the major project last spring, but hurdles of bureaucratic and other nature have hampered the launch of the process.
The commission has told local news outlets recently that it would not go forward with the tender before it secures important details such as the maximum competition, price, and investor credibility.
Integrated Resort Plan
The winning bidder will be part of a grand scheme for the development of a 600,000-square-meter integrated resort that will include a number of hotels, convention, exhibition, and meeting facilities, different themed attractions and other entertainment venues, retail space, and multiple food and beverage facilities.
The gaming portion of the resort will involve the establishment of a 15,000-square-meter casino which the Hellenic Gaming Commission believes will turn into an essential element for the success of the whole mega-project. The casino facility will include an 8,000-square-foot gaming floor as well as some non-gaming facilities that will occupy the remaining portion of its total area.
The winning casino investor will be awarded a 30-year gaming license from the Greek gaming regulator. As mentioned above, the gaming facility will be part of a large resort, the development of which is expected to create 10,000 temporary construction jobs and over 70,000 direct and indirect jobs during the complex’s first five years of operation.
It is important to note that Caesars was probably the first major developer to have expressed interest into Greece’s integrated resort expansion drive. First reports about the company eying the sunny Greek coast emerged last year.
Another important thing to take into account is that Melco is already developing a €500-million resort in the Republic of Cyprus, while Hard Rock was recently announced as the winning bidder for a €1-billion development in Spain, so it is yet to be seen whether any of the two companies would be ready to pledge to another major investment in the region.