A countdown of 10 working days started late on Monday, to February 3, for the submission of any objections regarding the tender for the casino permit at the plot under development at Elliniko in southern Athens, after the Hellenic Gaming Commission (EEEP) notified the two candidates.
As the market had been expecting, the EEEP board on Monday officially approved the minutes of the tender committee’s meeting that rejected the bid by Hard Rock International and accepted the offer by the consortium comprising Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and its Greek partner GEK Terna. Now Hard Rock International has 10 days to table an objection with the arbitration authority.
Sources tell Kathimerini that Hard Rock’s legal consultants had a conference call late on Monday with the group’s managers in the US, during which the next moves were decided. An objection is certain to be tabled in the coming days, and a month will be required for its assessment by the arbitration authority. If Hard Rock fails in this effort, staying out of the second stage of the casino permit tender that concerns the evaluation of the technical and financial details, it also has the option of taking recourse to the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, and asking for injunction measures that would freeze the tender and prevent the assessment of the other bid by the tender committee.
If the CoS rejects the injunction application, the objection will be discussed at a later date and the tender can proceed with the signing of the concession to the Mohegan-GEK Terna consortium, legal sources say. If, on the other hand, Hard Rock is vindicated by the CoS, it may get the right to claim damages, but the other consortium will still be able to proceed with the casino.
Kathimerini understands there were four areas where the Hard Rock International offer fell short, leading to its rejection: the letter of guarantee, various documents legitimizing the bid, required experience in constructing an integrated casino complex, and assurances regarding the entire investment’s funding model.
Hard Rock responds that all this was mere pretext, and has tabled an objection against a member of the tender committee over a conflict of interest, due to his previous cooperation with a company associated with one of the consortium partners.