Ministry bets on committee to supervise state casino

Deputy Development Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos is preparing a batch of measures for strengthening public control of casino operations – particularly the State-owned concern on Mount Parnitha, north of Athens – which include a re-examination of contracts with companies that have operating licenses but have not implemented the envisaged investment plans, sources say. According to the reports, Georgakopoulos is setting up a committee to exercise general supervision of the Mont Parnes casino, with access to the main gambling area, the electronic monitoring system and the cashier’s facility. It will also have access to information on every economic and managerial aspect of the complex. The committee will be given the discretionary power to submit proposals to the casino’s owner, Hellenic Tourism Properties, if it considers improvements needed to boost the enterprise’s turnover. At the same time, the ministry is working on a plan to institute stricter operating rules for casinos, modeled on those in force in the US State of Nevada. These will include measures designed to people addicted to gambling, such as forbidding entry to individuals who have stated in writing that they no longer wish to be admitted. Further, the ministry is expecting the Loutraki casino to account for its failure to build a 700-vessel marina and the casino on Syros to explain why it has not changed location nor built a hotel, as stipulated in the original contracts. Loutraki has already completed its hotel, whose operation has hung for a year now on a ruling by the Council of State. According to other reports, the ministry is conducting checks in another casino which is said to have fallen seriously behind its obligation to pay the State 30 percent of turnover.

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