Cypriot Government Greenlights Melco-Hard Rock Casino License Deal

The Cypriot government approved earlier today the casino license deal that will allow the Melco-Hard Rock consortium to build a €500-million integrated resort in the city of Limassol and four other gambling venues in the capital Nicosia, and the Larnaca, Famagusta, and Paphos districts.

The Republic of Cyprus’ gambling regulator will now have to sign the necessary license. A specially appointed Coordinating Committee will oversee construction work. It is believed that the casino resort will be completed and opened by late 2019 or early 2020.

Until then, a temporary casino will operate in Limassol. According to previously released information, the temporary venue will swing its doors open for visitors later in 2017. It has also become known that a Nicosia-based satellite casino will be up and running by the end of this year’s first half. It will host 5 gaming tables and 50 slot machines. The facilities in Larnaca, Famagusta, and Paphos will feature slot machines only.

A site not far from Limmassol’s MY MALL has been selected as the preferred location for the integrated resort. As many as 1,000 slot machines and 100 gaming tables will be found on its casino floor. What is more, it will feature a 500-room Hard Rock-branded hotel and multiple attractions, dining options, and other draws for customers.

Commenting on today’s casino license approval, Cyprus’ Minister for Commerce and Energy Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that a three-year ambitious endeavor has been completed successfully and that the €500-million project is expected to enrich the Mediterranean island country’s tourist product and generate new jobs. It has been estimated that around 4,000 people will be hired during construction and about as many once the two casinos and three slot parlors are fully operational.

The legalization of casino gambling in the country is also anticipated to increase international tourism rates significantly. According to information provided by the Cypriot Ministry of Finance, more than 3 million international tourists visited the Republic of Cyprus. Officials believe that gambling activities will annually bring an additional of 300,000 visitors.

The Melco-Hard Rock consortium was the only bidder to submit an application for Cyprus’ casino license by the October 2016 deadline. Melco and Hard Rock hold a 35.27% stake in the project each. The remaining 29.26% are owned by a local partner. Under the terms of the yet-to-be-issued license, it will be valid for a 30-year period. In addition, the group of investors will hold exclusivity over casino gambling in the Republic of Cyprus for the first 15 years. This means that no other operators will be able to bid for a casino license.

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