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New Greek casino hotting up

Tue, Oct 1, 3:56pm by Noah Taylor

It is down to just a few US companies vying for a vital casino licence central to the $8 billion development of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport in Athens.

The National Herald reports that one of the contenders, Hard Rock, said it would aim to bring in international travelers and make the destination a magnet for them.

The other bidders, Connecticut’s Mohegan Gaming Entertainment and possibly Malaysia’s Genting, whose interest has been wavering, with the two American companies slugging it out for the business as the new New Democracy government has accelerated the development’s push.

The tender is due on October 4 and Hard Rock’s second-in-command Edward Tracy, who heads its Asian business, came to the Greek capital to outline his plans to the business newspaper Naftemporiki about the long-delayed project that stagnated for four and a half years under the former ruling party, which had elements trying to keep out foreign companies.

He said that with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accelerating the project and promising to get it going by year’s end that he was “very satisfied” with the new government’s business-friendly approach after the previous government kept putting up obstacles.

Tracy said there’s now an expectation of lower corporate tax rates, with the timing right for anyone to invest in Greece after New Democracy cut the previous rate from 29 per cent and said it would eventually be cut to 20 per cent.

Tracy said the budget for the proposed Hard Rock casino resort will be valued at one billion euros, and would be as spectacular as the group’s unique $1.5 billion venue that will open in Hollywood, Florida this year.

He said he was confident that the Greek development company Lambda, which wants to buy out its consortium partners, China’s Fosun and Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills, could transform the 620-hectare site of prime land that is now overrun with weeds, deteriorating buildings and rusting aircraft.

Tracy said Labda Development was a “smart company”, with Hard Rock glad the Greek firm wanted to become the sole investor.

Hard Rock International front and centre of new Greek casino

Hard Rock International tossed its hat into the ring for the development of a casino resort as part of an 8 billion euro complex that is planned to be built at the site of the defunct Hellinikon International Airport near Athens.

Casino News Daily reported last month that at a press conference held last Friday in the Greek capital, Hard Rock chief executive officer Jim Allen announced that the company has made a binding offer to bring a casino to the larger complex, which is dubbed Hellinikon.

The Florida-based gaming and hospitality company plans to invest 1 billion euros into the development of a casino resort as part of the larger complex.

Mr Allen further revealed that Hard Rock would self-fund its project with 250 million euros, supplemented by loans extended by Greek and foreign banks.

The development will include a casino with slot machines and table games, a hotel, a conference centre, dining outlets and entertainment areas.

Mr Allen went on to explain Hard Rock’s proposal will pay due respect to Athens’ rich heritage as an international city.

The company will work with local businesses to help it achieve that goal.

The Hard Rock boss told local media that the project, if approved by the Greek government, will create 3,000 new jobs during construction stage and 1,600 permanent jobs when the casino complex becomes operational.

Construction is expected to take between 20-26 months to be completed.

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