A media outlet on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus has identified two Asian casino operators – NagaCorp Ltd and Bloomberry Resorts Corp – as each being likely to submit a full proposal for a single available licence there.
In-cyprus.com, an online outlet connected to Cyprus Weekly newspaper, quoted the latter publication as learning the news from a source, which was not identified in the report.
GGRAsia approached representatives from the two Asian casino firms seeking comment on the report, but had not received replies by the time this story went online.
Timothy McNally, the chairman of NagaCorp, had in October confirmed to GGRAsia – following an earlier report in the Cyprus media – that his firm was “exploring the market” in the Republic of Cyprus, the ethnic Greek portion of the island.
The latest Cyprus media report said that NagaCorp and Bloomberry Resorts were among 12 major gaming firms that had each made a formal expression of interest to the Cyprus government for a single casino licence it is thinking of issuing. The companies had each paid EUR10,000 (US$10,957) for an option to make an actual bid, said the report.
Of the original 12, five, including NagaCorp and Bloomberry Resorts, were expected to submit an official proposal by Friday – the deadline to present a bid – added the report.
NagaCorp and Bloomberry Resorts respectively are already actively pursuing casino projects outside their original markets.
NagaCorp, as well as developing and operating the NagaWorld casino resort in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, in May broke ground on a casino project in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone near Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.
Bloomberry Resorts, led by Philippines entrepreneur Enrique Razon, has previously announced plans to invest more than US$1 billion in a proposed casino resort complex in South Korea and is also seeking a gaming permit in Argentina.
Cyprus legislators in July passed a measure called the Operations and Casino Control Law. Among other things, it sets up a regulator called the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Authority, and allows the licensing of a single so-called “integrated resort” with a casino and leisure facilities, on a 30-year permit.
The casino should include at least 100 gaming tables and 1,000 gaming machines, according to the legislation.
The Cyprus casino law mentions plans to impose a 15 percent tax on gross gaming revenue at the proposed resort.
According to the source cited in the latest Cyprus Weekly report, Malaysian conglomerate Genting Bhd was one of the original 12 interested parties but decided not to make a formal proposal.
The three other parties expected to have lodged an official proposal by Friday’s deadline are said to be a French consortium, a casino operator from the United States and a conglomerate from Russia.
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”Assuming that our [Tigre de Cristal] phase two project and the other future operators’ development plans remain on track, we may see the benefits of a ‘cluster’ effect [in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone] as early as 2021”
Summit Ascent, lead developer of Tigre de Cristal