Cyprus’ First Casino Sees 7,000 Unique Visitors in First Days of Operation

More than 7,000 people have visited the Republic of Cyprus’ first legal casino since it opened doors on June 28, Cyprus Mail reports. Owners have told the local news outlet that they were aware of the challenges that might arise in future but that they believed the operation would be a success in the long term.

The new casino, named Cyprus Casino or C2, is operated by gaming and hospitality giant Melco International Development. It is located near MyMall in Zakaki, Limassol. The new casino features 242 slot machines and 33 gaming tables over a 4,600-square-meter gaming floor.

The facility is just a temporary operation, until the company’s €550-million full-scale integrated resort with a hotel, food and beverage and entertainment facilities, and convention space is under development. The main property is slated to open doors in 2021.

Commenting on the casino’s performance over its first days of operation, property President Craig Ballantyne told Cyprus Mail that they have had 7,000 unique visitors so far, and that a little over 4,000 have joined the venue’s rewards program. During its first weekend, the casino saw 2,000 visitors per day.

Mr. Ballantyne said that many of the people who visited came out of curiosity and interest. The official further pointed out that there were a lot of visitors they expected and some they did not.

Mostly Cypriots have come to visit their country’s first legal and regulated casino. Visitors from Greece, Ukraine, Russia, the UK, Italy, and Lebanon, in that precise order, were also in the mix, the casino revealed.

Slot machines have been the most popular type of offering at the gambling venue, Mr. Ballantyne said. The casino also offers blackjack, roulette, and different poker variants. Its President told local media that they were considering the possibility to add more baccarat, but high end this time, to their offering as patrons have requested that.

Challenges before the New Casino

Mr. Ballantyne said that while “it’s been a bit of fun”, they have had a real rollercoaster ride over the past several days and that the overall performance was below expectations. The official said plainly that they were “not the only game in town” and that they would never be. He referred to the multitude of casinos in North Cyprus as well as to the illegal gambling operations that are spread across the Mediterranean island nation.

Of their North Cyprus competitors, Mr. Ballantyne said that casino customers there are treated to free alcohol and tobacco, among other things. The official stressed that the playing field is just not level, as the two parts of the island have completely different regulations in place.

Speaking about the gambling regulations in the Republic of Cyprus, the casino’s President expressed his disappointment with the fact that they cannot quite advertise their offering the way they wished they could.

Under current regulations, gambling products cannot be advertised in a manner that encourages people to gamble as this could change their lives. According to Mr. Ballantyne, the rules are a bit discriminatory, as lottery products are advertised aggressively across media and retail points.

The casino official pointed out that they are well-aware of the challenges and that even though they want a return on their investment, they know that it is a long-term strategy and that the main integrated resort is what lies in the core of that strategy.

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