BUSINESS

New extension seen for Elliniko casino tender, to end June

VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

TAGS: Business, Privatizations

Three out of the four parties that had expressed an initial interest in the casino permit at the old Athens airport plot in Elliniko on Athens’ southern coast are still in play today. Caesars Entertainment may have been the first of the four bidders to come forward, but it has recently appeared somewhat aloof from the process and is regarded as having either withdrawn from the process or, at best, following developments from a distance.

This development comes amid clear signs that the tender for the casino permit is headed for a fresh extension. Sources say that the interested investors have told the government that they need a sufficient amount of time to study the joint ministerial decision outlining the zoning plan for the property, which is to house the casino and other resort facilities such as a hotel, conference center, etc.

Given that the consultation period on the environmental study expires next Tuesday, it is considered unlikely – despite the pressure on the government – for the joint ministerial decisions to be drafted by May 31.

It is reminded that the authority running the tender, the gaming commission (EEEP), has already granted an extension from the original deadline of April 22 to the end of this month. A second extension is likely to shift the deadline for the submission of binding offers to the end of June.

The good news is that the three investors – American companies Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) and Hard Rock, and Malaysia’s Genting – have completed the submission of their comments both on the casino license concession terms and on the terms for leasing the property from the main concessionaire of Elliniko, Hellenikon Global and its owner Lamda Development. Kathimerini understands that all of the candidates are asking for a reduction to the rate of rent asked for the casino building. However,Hellenikon Global has not yet submitted the final text for the property’s lease contract.

The lease contract is closely linked to the contract expected for the concession of the 30-year casino license at Elliniko, which, in turn, is necessary for the development of Greece’s biggest project in decades to get under way.

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