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Greece’s Hellenic Gaming Commission Postpones the Deadline for the Athens Casino License Applications Again

- May 29, 2019 By Oliver Young -

Greece has announced the concession tender for the huge casino resort near Athens in February 2019 but has been delaying the deadline for license applications ever since. The first deadline was the 22nd of April, but due to some administrative issues, they have delayed to the 31st of May. As the new deadline approaches, the Hellenic Gaming Commission has decided to move the deadline once again, this time to 28th of June.

Greece delays the deadline once again, and industry’s giants lose interest in the huge casino resort bidding.

Greece delays the deadline once again, and industry’s giants lose interest in the huge casino resort bidding.

Details on the Brand New Deadline

After announcing the new casino licensing scheme in 2016, in attempts to find extra income sources, the Greeks have been struggling to settle their differences and agree on the terms and conditions for the newly reregulated gambling market.

Months later, they announced the casino resort project, which gained immediate interest among major names in the industry, such as Caesars, Hard Rock and Mohegan Gaming, who are still potential bidders, as reported. The casino resort is planned to be 600,000 square-meter big, and to include various themed tourist attractions, exhibition and convention facilities, meeting facilities, a number of hotels, retail space and food and beverage facilities, and of course a massive, 15,000 square-meter casino establishment with 8,000 square-meter gaming floor. An absolute tourist paradise.

The bidders, the giants in the gaming industry, were prepared to pay €5 million for a gambling license, €1 million to obtain an online gambling license and another €4 million for a sports betting license, should they want to include sports betting as well. But this is just a scratch. After getting all these licenses, the operator who would win the bidding would be given a 30-year license for construction and operation. The bidders interested in the casino resort must have experience in casino operations and offer at least 500 slot machines and 100 table games. All things considered, the facilities that are planned to be built would cost the operator staggering €1.1 billion.

However, the constant delays, feuds and misunderstandings, could cost Greece a lot, as potential bidders are slowly losing interest in the project. In fact, there are rumours that Caesars may drop out of the competition because the deadline has been delayed once again. If the delays continue, there will be a huge competition on the neighbouring island of Cyprus. Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s €600 million casino resort is underway and the construction works have started. The resort is expected to open its gates to tourists in 2021. If that happens before the Hellinikon project gets underway, Melco’s resort could establish itself as the hotspot in the region, and Greece will again scramble into debts.

Why the Constant Delays?

Greece announced the project and bumped into an obstacle immediately. Lambda Development, the construction company which was given the huge land development contract, had some issues regarding the terms of the contract, but they managed to reach an agreement. Then, there was the concession tender start delay, as they couldn’t initiate it before the bidding process was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

After announcing that the bidding would start right after the publication, they said that the HGC would leave a 60-day bidding window in order to leave space for interested parties to submit their applications. But the bidding never ended. Still, operators are left hanging due to continuous delays. Greece must act fast and solve all the problems regarding the project soon if they want the project to succeed. Otherwise, these industry’s giants will give up and make brand new expansion strategies in a different place in the world.

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