The government has set a low barrier for the concession of the Elliniko casino permit, but the selection criteria are seen as so strict that they exclude most European casino operators.
The minimum price the candidates will have to bid for the license is 30 million euros, while in 2003 the permit for the Parnitha casino cost 120 million euros. However, the financial criteria set very high standards, and the investments the contractor will need to implement in the first stage of the Elliniko plot development are also demanding.
In the first three years of development the licensee will have to build a five-star hotel with 2,000 beds, a conference and exhibition center of at least 12,000 square enters, a venue for sporting and cultural events with a capacity of at least 3,000 people, and a casino of a minimum of 12,000 sq.m. with at least 120 tables and 1,200 gaming machines.
The low price of 30 million euros for the 30-year license shows that the government is keen to facilitate the project. Yet the invitation for bids, with an April 22 deadline, also demands that candidates have had assets worth 200 million euros and annual revenues of at least 400 million euros in the last three years. Kathimerini understands that these high requirements exclude all domestic casino enterprises and the vast majority of their European peers. Only France’s Groupe Barriere may make the cut, and even that is not certain.
Market sources say that the financial bar has been set so high that even the European subsidiaries of major US casino companies could not clear it. Therefore it appears that the target of the tender is the parent US casino giants themselves.