3 Companies Fight for Greek Casino License

By Ben Hamill - October 30, 2018
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Elliniko Resort

As the bidding tender process for a Greek gambling license has kicked off, only three US operators have remained in the race for the chance to run the planned €8 billion Elliniko integrated casino resort.

Hard Rock, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, and Caesars Entertainment have all shown interest in claiming the permit to operate the venue after the redevelopment of the former Hellenikon International Airport has been completed. By March of 2019, the license and its new owner should be finalized, and the project is expected to break ground.

The three American companies are some of the largest operators of gambling facilities in the world, owning integrated resorts across the Americas and many other venues in Europe as well. They are now the final three bidders for the license, which, according to local news reports, will be awarded for the Elliniko casino resort near Athens.

No Decision Until 2019 at Least

Many other eager bidders have fallen from the race following crippling delays and bids to halt the project. Included in the list were French Group Barriere and US firms Melco Resorts and Entertainment and Sheldon Adelson-owned Las Vegas Sands.

While there are currently three large-scale investors keen to run the casino in the future, just one license will be awarded by the Greek government. No decision will be made until at least the end of 2018, news outlets have reported, while construction work on the site is not anticipated to kick off until early next year. The resort’s developer is a consortium headed up by local firm Lambda, and featuring Chinese conglomerate Fosun and another anonymous Abu Dhabi firm.

Back in June, Lambda spoke about the plans for the resort at an Athens shareholders meeting. They confirmed then that construction could start at the beginning of 2019 – but the start date could be delayed once again to coincide with the announcement of the chosen operator. The developers from Lambda have already revealed their vision for the property in the meantime, revealing a bigger and much more complex plan than was previously anticipated.

Project to Create 85,000 Jobs

In mid-2016, Lambda and the local government inked a €1 billion deal for the transfer of the site of the old Hellenikon International Airport. Negotiations actually started in 2010, but were set back due to environmental and technical problems.

With that said, the current plans paint a picture of a 1,500-acre seaside resort where the former airport was located. This area would be converted into a massive entertainment complex boasting hotels, residential condos, cultural attractions, convention centers, stores and retail outlets. Naturally, a massive casino facility covering 15,000 square meters has also been included.

Over and above the 10,000 construction jobs that the project will create, it will also generate another 75,000 positions once fully operational. However, it will be constructed in several stages and over a 10-12 year period, the developers have revealed.

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Caesars Entertainment
Hard Rock Casino
Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment
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