Asian casino investor and developer Melco International Development Ltd says it is committed to establishing a “world class integrated casino resort” in the Republic of Cyprus.
The company confirmed in an email to GGRAsia that the consortium of which it is part, “was informed by the [Cyprus'] Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism that its … proposal has satisfied the technical requirements of the second phase of the tender process” for a casino licence in that country.
The winning consortium involves Melco International, led by casino entrepreneur Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, alongside Hard Rock International Inc – via Seminole HR Holdings LLC – and local conglomerate Cyprus Phasouri (Zakaki) Ltd.
“The consortium welcomes the decision and looks forward to collaborating with the Cyprus government to meet the set targets and establish a world class integrated casino resort that will be highly beneficial to the economy and tourism of Cyprus,” a spokesperson for Melco International told GGRAsia.
The first stage of the tender process by the Cyprus government had attracted eight expressions of interest, with three – Melco International’s consortium, Hong Kong-listed casino investor NagaCorp Ltd and Philippines-based casino investor Bloombery Resorts Corp – having been short-listed.
But Bloombery and NagaCorp announced before the October 5 deadline that they would not proceed to the final stage.
The winner of the final round of the bidding contest receives a 30-year casino licence. After 15 years of exclusivity for the winner, competing licences might then be issued to other parties, according to local media reports.
The final proposal for the Cyprus casino licence had to include at least 500 luxury hotel rooms, 1,000 gaming machines, and 100 gaming tables, according to the specially drafted local legislation. The winning bidder will also be allowed to build a satellite casino and three slot parlours in that country.
The Cyprus Mail newspaper had quoted Constantinos Petrides, deputy minister to the president of Cyprus, as saying that construction for the casino scheme was expected to start in the first quarter of 2017. Mr Petrides had previously been quoted mentioning a capital investment of EUR500 million (US$554.6 million) for the project.
Melco International did not disclose the investment for the Cyprus casino scheme nor the projected start date for construction.
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Chairman and chief executive of Asia casino developer and operator Melco Resorts