Last week, Exante’s Patrick J O’ Brien met with Cypriot Finance Minister Harris Georgiades at The Presidential Palace in Cyprus to learn that Cyprus is beginning a new chapter in the Gaming Industry.
The establishment of a large casino in any location has always had a significant impact on the surrounding area, just look at Malta and whilst some might debate that its social impact is a negative one, even though there is substantial research that proves otherwise, there is no doubt its impact on the local economy and tourism is both positive and significant. In 2015 the Republic of Cyprus has announced a call for Expression Of Interest (EOI) from consortiums that wish to invest in establishing the first and only Integrated Casino Resort (ICR) on the Island. It has to be said that by looking at the greater picture the government has gone about this the right way. Not only because the EOI process was designed to surface the most diligent, pre-planned and capable of candidates, but also because they made it clear that one of the main objectives of the casino is to help develop Cyprus’s tourism sector.
Finally The Melco-Hard Rock Resorts Cyprus consortium was selected as the preferred candidate for the construction of the first casino resort.
In 2015, the Cypriot government adopted a legislation that allowed for the establishment of a multi-purpose complex with gambling, accommodation, and entertainment options. Legislators launched a call for tenders process that attracted eight international operators. Three candidates were short-listed for the next stage of the process, with those being a consortium of Hong Kong-listed Melco International Development and US operator Hard Rock International, Cambodia’s NagaCorp, and Philippine operator Bloomberry Resorts, many dropped out due to strict guidelinesthus leaving the Melco-Hard Rock joint venture the sole candidate.
To comply with the newly adopted Cypriot casino law, the developer will have to make sure that its complex features a casino floor with at least 1,000 slot machines and 100 gaming tables, and a 500-room hotel. As the preferred bidder, the Melco-Hard Rock consortium will be granted a 30-year license for the operation of what will be the first casino property in the Mediterranean island’s Southern part. What is more, the operator will be secured with a 15-year exclusivity period, which means that no other casino resort will be allowed to open doors in the Republic of Cyprus over that time span. Construction is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2017.