The €8 billion project for the development of a hotel and casino resort near Athens has hit a number of setbacks delaying its start over the years
The Hellenic Gaming Commission could grant another extension to the deadline for the tender for a license for the development of a casino as part of a larger integrated resort at the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport near Athens.
According to local news outlet Kathimerini, companies interested to operate a casino within the larger complex have told the Greek government that they need more time to examine the zoning plan for the property.
Zoning issues and pending ministerial decisions have been the latest hurdles obstructing the actual start of the mega-project that involves the development of an €8 integrated hotel and casino resort.
The Hellenic Gaming Commission launched the bidding process for the casino portion of the large development scheme in February. Interested companies originally had up until April 22 to submit their license applications. Later on, the gambling regulator extended that original deadline to May 31. According to sources familiar with the ongoing tender, the deadline could be pushed back to the end of June.
The winning bidder, when it is finally selected, will be granted a license to construct and operate a casino that will be part of the larger Hellinikon integrated resort. The massive complex will be located at the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport and will include hotels, residential buildings, office spaces, numerous attractions and entertainment venues, conference facilities, retail space, and a casino, among other amenities.
The site of the former airport had been included in a lengthy list of assets the Greek government sought to sell as part of its privatization program under its third bailout. Greek real estate developer Lamda Development was selected as the preferred developer of the €8 billion mega-complex.
Caesars Might Be Losing Interest in Hellinikon
The mega-project has seen interest from some of the world’s biggest gaming and hospitality companies, but the multiple delays in its implementation might have resulted in some of these companies withdrawing from the tender process or at least stepping aside to follow the developments remotely.
Kathimerini has reported citing sources familiar with the matter that Las Vegas powerhouse Caesars Entertainment Corp. may have been losing interest in building a casino within the massive complex near the Greek capital. The company has been watching closely the project but sources believe it has grown impatient due to the constant delays.
Kathimerini has further noted that the Hellinikon scheme still has high-profile suitors, including US companies Hard Rock International and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment as well as Malaysia’s Genting Group. All three are believed to have successfully submitted the paperwork required by the Hellenic Gaming Commission, including their comments on the casino license concession terms as well as on the terms of leasing the future casino property from the mega-scheme’s main concessionaire – Lamda and its subsidiary Hellenikon Global.
The winning casino bidder will be granted a 30-year license for the operation of the gaming facility. A successful casino license applicant would need to have experience of operating a gambling venue with no fewer than 100 table games and no fewer than 500 slot machines and to pledge €1 billion investment for the development of a full-blown casino at the Hellinikon.