Interest in €8-Billion Athens Integrated Resort Narrows to Three US Casino Giants

The winning bidder for a casino license for the €8-billion Hellinicon integrated resort likely to be announced in Q1 2019

Three major casino companies have remained interested in participating in the tender process for a gaming license as part of a larger project for the construction of an €8-billion integrated resort near Athens, Greece.

Local news outlet Kathimerini reported today that out of the six international companies that had previously expressed interest in obtaining a casino license, just three have remained consistent in their bid to participate in the mega-scheme. Caesars Entertainment Corp., Hard Rock International, and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment are reportedly the three companies that will take part in the bidding process, which is yet to be launched.

Previously, Las Vegas Sands, France’s Group Barriere, and Melco Resorts & Entertainment, which is currently developing an integrated resort in the Republic of Cyprus, had shown interest in the major development project.

The Hellenic Gaming Commission launched in August a one-month consultation process, seeking input from interested candidates for a license for the casino portion of the integrated resort plan ahead of the official launch of the bidding process. The gaming regulator accepted comments from interested casino companies until September 10 and was expected to launch the tender process shortly after.

According to Kathimerini, the contractor that will develop the integrated resort will release the terms of the casino concession in the coming days. The preferred bidder for the license was expected to be announced by the end of the year. However, the news outlet reported that given the fact negotiations have taken longer than originally planned, an announcement should not be expected this year. It is believed that the winning bidder will be revealed by the end of March or around Easter 2019.

More about the Project

Local developer Lamda Development has been selected as the preferred developer of the €8-billion integrated resort. The property will be located at the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport near Athens. The multi-billion development project is part of a larger privatization program, which is in turn a condition of the country’s third bailout package.

Commenting on the pending launch of the casino license bidding process, Lamda Development CEO Odysseas Athanasiou has said that a winning bidder could be announced by the end of the first quarter of 2019. The selection of a preferred developer of the casino portion of the project is a necessary step for the privatization of the Ellinikon site.

The winning casino bidder will be expected to build a casino worth around €1 billion. The facility will occupy 15,000 square meters and will be part of the larger 600,000-square-meter resort. The whole complex is also planned to include hotels, convention facilities, various attractions, food and beverage options, and retail areas among others. According to a 2016 report by the Greek Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), the resort will create 10,000 construction jobs, and 75,000 permanent jobs once it is complete and fully operational.

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