Greece Launches International Tender for €8 Billion Casino Project after Sept. 10

After a huge delay on the ambitious €8 billion Hellinikon casino project, Greece will finally launch the international tender for a license this fall. The Hellenic Gaming Commission has now invited all interested parties to submit proposals regarding the plans for Europe’s first integrated casino resort.

Back in February, the Greek Council of State gave a final approval for the construction of a major casino and entertainment resort at the former site of the Ellinikon International Airport (also spelled Hellenikon). Slated to become the nation’s biggest coastal resort and first integrated casino resort in Europe, the €8 billion project is also a key term in the country’s international bailout. This caused unrelenting pressure for launching the development as soon as possible.

The project has faced several delays over the past few years, sparking heated disputes between its proponents and environmentalists and archaeologists. Greek authorities are now aiming at finding a casino operator by the end of the year so that construction work can finally start in early 2019. The Hellenic Gaming Commission, which is the local gambling regulator, is now inviting all stakeholders to submit comments and make proposals. This public consultation about the investment project will run through September 10.

According to the regulator, the international tender for a casino license will be opened for bidding soon after that. The concessionaire who wins the tender will operate the casino for a period of 30 years. It will be part of a much larger project expected to create up to 10,000 construction jobs during development, as well as more than 70,000 direct and indirect (from the increased economic activity) jobs during the first five years of operation.

The Largest Tourism & Gaming Destination in Greece

In an official announcement, the Hellenic Gaming Commission said that the future casino would be an essential part of the coastal resort, which will transform the economy and the lives of millions of people in the wider Athens area. When it opens its doors, the resort will be key to the future development of the tourism sector in Greece and is expected to revitalize the slowly recovering economy and reduce unemployment.

It will cover a wide, 600-hectare area and will have hotels and residential buildings, convention facilities, entertainment and concert venue, themed parks, luxury retail and fine dining outlets, as well as a casino. Likely to occupy one of the 45-story Hellenikon skyscrapers, the casino will spread across an area of 15,000 square meters, with the gaming floor planned to cover around 8,000 sq.m. The remaining area of the property is intended for non-gaming facilities.

So far, the only gaming operator to express some interest in the future casino on the Athenian Riviera is the US-based corporation Caesars Entertainment. The Las Vegas casino giant has eyed the Hellenikon casino as part of its expansion plans but still has not disclosed any details regarding its potential participation in the tender.

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