Only US Casino Operators Interested in the Athens IR

The project, named Hellinicon, is an $8-billion worth integrated resort that was planned to be built near Athens. Greek officials expected a lot of bidders for the licenses, but it all came down to three casino operators, all of which are from the US. They will ultimately announce who the winner is in Q1 2019.


The three casino companies that remained in the race are Caesars Entertainment Corp., Hard Rock International, and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. They are all participating in the tender process, and the company that receives the license will have an opportunity to build and run an integrated resort that is worth more than eight billion dollars.

According to Kathimerini, a local news outlet from Greece, there were a total of six international companies that showed interest in participating in one such project. However, only the three mentioned above remained in the game. The bidding process is still not officially launched, but as soon as it begins, the American companies will have to compete with each other.

The three companies that decided to pull out of the race are Las Vegas Sands, Group Barriere from France, and Melco Resorts & Entertainment. Melco was believed to be one of the best candidates for the project at first because they already participate in building a casino in a neighboring country island – Cyprus.

There was a consultation process that lasted for one month and was conducted by The Hellenic Gaming Commission. They sought input from the possible candidates to grant one of them a license for the casino part of the project. They closed this part on September 10, and the tender process is expected to start soon.

The contractor that is chosen for the license and the development of the IR will have to release the terms of the concession of the casino in the following couple of days. The lucky license bidder will be announced by the end of 2018. However, according to Kathimerini, the whole process may take longer than expected, since the original deadlines have already been breached as the negotiations take more time. Therefore, the officials believe that they will be able to finally announce the winner of the bidding process by the end of March 2019, sometime around Easter.

The casino operator that wins the bid will have to join forces with local developer Lambda Development, which is selected to be the main developer of this IR. The whole thing will be built on the site of the former Ellinikon Internation Airport, which is located near Athens. The casino operator will have to set aside approximately one billion Euros for investing in building a casino as an inevitable part of the IR. The facility will take up approximately 15,000 square meters, and the whole resort will occupy more than 600,000 square meters.

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