US gaming and hospitality company Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment has tabled a €150 million bid for the right to operate a casino as part of a larger complex planned to be developed at the site of the defunct Ellinikon International Airport near Athens, Greece.
The Hellenic Gaming Commission on Wednesday opened the financial portion of Mohegan’s casino proposal to assess it and determine whether the US company should be awarded the casino license that it seeks to obtain.
The offer presented by Mohegan is five times the minimum of €30 million previously set by the Hellenic Gaming Commission. The regulator is expected to announce its decision any time now.
If the Gaming Commission selects Mohegan and its Greek partner, construction giant GEK Terna, as its preferred casino developer, a contract between Greek authorities and the casino licensee should be drafted and signed and then submitted for approval from the State Audit Council. The contract also needs to be ratified by the Greek Parliament. This is expected to happen by the end of October.
Mohegan is seeking approval to build a casino resort as part of the larger Hellinikon project. That larger project is overseen by Greek real estate developer Lamda Development and awarding the casino license is an important hurdle that needs to be cleared before construction work at the site of the future Hellinikon can finally kick off after years of delays.
Mohegan last year unveiled its INSPIRE Athens concept that it plans to materialize if picked by the Hellenic Gaming Commission as the preferred developer of the casino at Hellinikon. The US company wants to build a €1 billion gaming and entertainment resort that will feature a casino with at least 1,200 slot machines and 120 table games, luxury hotel, entertainment facilities, a convention center, retail space, multiple dining outlets, sprawling resort pools, and a comprehensive mix of a number of other different amenities.
Mohegan has hired Las Vegas architectural firm Steelman Partners for the resort’s principal design.
Once the casino operator’s contract with Greek authorities gets ratified, the government will finally be able to receive the first €300 million installment from Lamda Development which the company will pay for the right to transform Athens’ former international airport into a massive multi-purpose complex. The Hellinikon’s projected cost is expected to surpass €8 billion.
Mohegan is one of two casino operators that submitted offers to build and operate the gaming aspects of the larger resort. Fellow US casino operator Hard Rock International was the other bidder, but the company’s offer was deemed incomplete by the Hellenic Gaming Commission and it dropped from the race.
Hard Rock has repeatedly tried to overturn the regulator’s decision to disqualify the company from the bidding process, but each of it hit insurmountable roadblocks every time.
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