BUSINESS

Implementation of development project at Elliniko edges closer

VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

TAGS: Privatizations, Business

The investors in the Elliniko development project take a favorable view of the parliamentary vote on the new casino operation framework that provides for the reduction of tax rates on casino games and increases Greece’s allure for highrollers. Now it seems the Finance Ministry is preparing to call a tender to hire a consultant to draft the tender for conceding a casino permit at Elliniko.

Sources confirm that a consultant is to be commissioned next month, but the tender for the casino license is not expected before late May, or even the end of June.

This time frame is to the investors’ preference too, as they are keen to get their hands on the final version of the presidential decree on the Elliniko project as approved by the Council of State. However, as a government official noted, “the process is well under way” so what is left to determine now is when construction can start at the site in southern Athens and when the first 300-million-euro tranche will be paid.

So far the only company to have expressed an interest in the Elliniko casino permit is Caesars Entertainment. The US enterprise is said to have already approached the Greek government on the issue as well as contractor Lamda Development.

Yet as government sources point out, more interested parties will come forward before the license is proclaimed. The objective is to have the permit issued during the summer or by fall at the latest, so that Lamda Development and its partners, Chinese company Fosun and Arab firm Eagle Hills, will have an open road ahead of them to start developing the property.

While the law passed in Parliament was good news for the project, the Cypriot plan for the grand holiday City of Dreams Mediterranean resort, which will include a casino, was not, as it will rival the Elliniko resort. “We are practically addressing the same player market,” a well-informed source says.

According to a report Deloitte has submitted to the government, the operator of the Elliniko casino can achieve gross gaming revenues over 700 million euros in the long term, which is more than twice that currently raked in by all of the country’s casinos between them.

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