Only US Operators Left for Greece’s Casino Plan
The plans to set up a casino in Elliniko, Greece, had initially attracted attention from six casino operators. However, half of those operators have withdrawn their application, leaving behind just three interested applicants. All three remaining applicants also happen to be from the US.
Not too long ago, Las Vegas Sands, France’s Group Barriere, and a team of various investment enterprises had vied for a piece of the Greek gambling market. But, only three have chosen to stay, namely, Caesars Entertainment, Hard Rock Café, and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. Clarifications concerning who will finally end up with the permit will be provided in the upcoming days.
The casino may open next year
The former Athens airport in Elliniko has been chosen as the site for the casino. However, determining who the operator should be has taken a considerable amount of time, and the final decision is expected to be made only in 2019. Though an exact date hasn’t been provided, reports suggest that the decision will be made by April.
The HGC (Hellenic Gaming Commission), which is responsible for handing out gaming licenses in Greece, had started discussions about the casino project with operators in August, this year. Lamda, a property development firm, entered into a contract with the state, all the way back in 2014, to convert over 1000 acres of land at the defunct airport into an integrated resort with casinos, a yachting marina, and hotels.
The casino was stated to be a major project. In HGC’s own words, it was to be a “world-class integrated casino resort” and a key location in Elliniko. The primary goal behind the project was to transform this side of Athens and improve the lives of residents, while also providing an attraction for visitors and boosting the country’s prospects in terms of tourism. Tourism is a major source of revenue for Greece.
Coming back from a recession
Greece has been struggling to come back from its recession, which had lasted for ages. The country had requested the EU, the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and the European Central Bank for a bailout of $331 million in order to revitalize its economy.
The new resort is expected to help boost the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by 2.4% and bring in a million more tourists (annually) than the current figure.