The only surviving bidder for a single casino licence in the Republic of Cyprus has been granted the rights, says the Cyprus Mail newspaper, quoting the country’s Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
The winning consortium involves Asian casino investor and developer Melco International Development Ltd, 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 has been invited by the coordinating committee to submit an application for licensing, under which the due diligence check will be carried out as provided by the documents of the invitation and the law. Subject to the successful completion of the aforementioned control, the permit will be issued,” the ministry was quoted as saying.
Constantinos Petrides, deputy minister to the country’s president, had said after the final bid was filed in October, that construction work by the chosen investor was expected to start in the first quarter of 2017, according to the Cyprus Mail.
Mr Petrides had previously been quoted mentioning a capital investment of EUR500 million (US$554.6 million) for the casino scheme.
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.
Melco International had said in an October filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that the consortium had met the October 5 deadline for final submissions.
The first stage of the tender process by the government of the ethnic Greek portion of the Mediterranean island had attracted eight expressions of interest, with three – Melco International’s consortium, Hong Kong-listed casino investor NagaCorp Ltd and Philippines-based casino investor Bloomberry Resorts Corp – having been short-listed.
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"Our rolling chip business [at Tigre de Cristal casino, in the Russian Far East], targeting Asian customers, has achieved substantial growth as we continue to address the underserved Northeast Asian market"
Lawrence Ho Yau Lung
Chairman of gaming investor Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd